The tranquil new album from former Espers singer Meg Baird is a crystallisation of her tireless musical journey to date
on’t Weigh Down The Light is the third solo release from former Espers member, and co-founder, Meg Baird. Though it may seem as though three albums in eight years is a somewhat sluggish output, Baird is a hugely prolific artist having also recorded as The Baird Sisters, played with Heron Oblivion and lent her unique talents to the likes of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Sharon Van Etten and Kurt Vile.
Where Dear Companion and Season On Earth were both stark records, this is awash with textures that augment Baird’s finger-picking guitar style and winsome vocals. On songs like I Don’t Mind you can hear the crystallisation of all she has been trying to achieve to date, subtly contorting as it drifts along.
Thematically the album tackles change and upheaval. On Past Houses she sings “New light, even though you left me hanging/ I stayed up all night just to see what would happen.” The melody of Leaving Song returns again on Even The Walls Don’t Want You To Go and the album closes with a reprise of Past Houses suggesting it is impossible to move on entirely, something will always remain. Perhaps then it is understandable that this is the closest she has come to revisiting the psych folk stylings of her old band.
These songs are tranquil yet never soporific – livelier tracks such as Good Directions make certain of that – and with her first collection of all original material, Meg Baird has reinforced her standing as one of folk music’s leading lights.
Verdict: A peaceful tribute to upheaval.