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It’s always interesting to learn that an artist has produced an album on the back of some sort of personal upheaval – in Laura Veirs’ case, she conquered a serious period of creative frustration by stripping back to the bare minimum – just her voice and her guitar, and a series of unfamiliar guitar tunings, and wrote this album. July Flame really resonates; it is full of colour and life, light and dark, and a folky sense of eerie wonderment that can be easily lost in the multitude of bands in the post-Fleet Foxes army.  What Veirs does with this reflective sound is bring it on home, less lamentations and floaty, more naked and slyly honest. She sings more of the real stuff about abandoned ideals, sexual insecurity, loss, and Carol Kaye; rising above the need for fantastical allusions to setting suns or red scarves in the forest. Fans will pick Jim James’ unmistakable howls in the background –  and the sparse, oaky arrangements courtesy of partner/producer Tucker Martine give Veirs’ simple, exuberant alto just the right setting for what really are just plain old fantastic songs.

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