Published Oct 19, 2016Front Row Seat to Earth is the kind of album that's hard to describe without referencing the work of other artists. Luckily for project mastermind Natalie Mering, the musicians evoked by Weyes Blood's fourth album Front Row Seat to Earth are mostly geniuses. Whether you think of Pink Floyd's gloomy grooves, the Zombies' post-modern harmonies or even Kate Bush's lyrical lilt, she's most definitely in great company.
It's worth noting though that the songwriter doesn't only emulate here — she transcends her influences, taking what she wants from '70s AM rock and leaving the rest behind. Across Front Row's nine sprawling songs, Mering dissects the quirks of her humanity, meditating on her emotions from a distance, as if calming watching ants scurry around an ant farm. On lead single "Seven Words," for example, the chanteuse addresses an old love with bitterly lucid words, pondering, "If I could change how I'm insane / If I could learn to leave my troubles behind." Like most of the songs on the album, it starts with a simple chord progression before eventually branching out into powerful, proggy arrangements.
Front Row Seat to Earth might not be the most immediate record released this year, but it never turns its back on you. Accessible without ever being simple, it's one worth getting into, even if the way is labyrinthine. (Mexican Summer)