Customer Reviews: July Flame
Amazon Vehicles Editors' Picks Amazon Fashion Learn more nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc Britney Spears Fire TV Stick Happy Belly Coffee Totes Summer-Event-Garden Amazon Cash Back Offer TheKicks TheKicks TheKicks  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 All-New Kindle Oasis Celine Dion Water Sports

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:$11.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on January 13, 2010
The Colorado-born and Portland-based artist's seventh album is a resultant breath of fresh air.
Conceived from a chance summer meeting with an unusual peach at a local farmer's market, which also spawned the album's name and title track, "July Flame" - a variety of peach- is a break from a self-proclaimed songwriting slump - and a welcome one at that.
The wistful songstress takes a more stripped-down approach compared with recent efforts, the mood erring toward the ripe and summery and the simple arrangements leaving plenty of spaces for her crystalline-as-mountain-air vocals to swoop and glide.
Here, instead of the fascination with water, which has coursed through all her albums since the beautiful "Carbon Glacier", it's the sun that dominates "July Flame".
Tracks such as "Sun Is King" and "Summer Is the Champion" speak poetically of that season's emotional thaw.
The album offers an airy, bucolic, for the most part drum-less, sound, effectively returning Veirs to the fingerpicking folk milieu that characterised her early records, showing a world of organic imagery where troubles "seep into the dirty ground". She may be midthirties, but "July Flame" sees Veirs' explore the emotions of a hazy mid-summer with wide-eyed youthfulness - most notably on the gloriously bright "Summer Is The Champion".
The title track, meanwhile, epitomises a long-shadowed July twilight.
The erstwhile geologist and inveterate nature lover is still packing her songs with floral, orological and riverine metaphors, but "July Flame" also finds her exploring new, more direct lyrical avenues, like the unabashed romanticism of "When You Give Your Heart" or the unequivocal "Carole Kaye" - the real curio of the set, an ingenuous tribute to Frank Zappa's session bassist that showcases Laura Veirs' humble-natured song writing, whilst also providing credentials for her own deserved reverence.
"Make Something Good", a rasping, piano and strings-ornamented duet with My Morning Jacket's Jim James, closes out the album.
The 13 tracks, recorded at Veirs's own home studio or 'the Barn' with new partner and long-time producer Tucker Martine, have such an unassuming, homespun quality that you're constantly surprised by how mesmerising is the tapestry of sounds and how expansive and richly textured the songs are.
My favourite tracks: "Make Something Good", "Carol Kaye", "Wide-Eyed" , "Legless", "July Flame' and " Summer Is the Champion".
Carbon Glacier
0Comment| 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 13, 2010
It's almost painful, how beautiful this new Laura Veirs CD is. With six albums now, and an EP (there was another, self-released title as well, currently out of print), it has become clear to me that the woman is not capable of creating anything less than captivating ... and she keeps getting better. JULY FLAME instantly became my favorite with the very first listen!

Now, for some, Laura Veirs' flat, girlish voice will be an acquired taste. It was for me; my initial exposure was her Carbon Glacier, a CD I bought based purely on reviews. I would not have given two cents for her singing ability - at first. But the songs crept under my skin, their organic yet chilly tones haunting me for weeks until I had to hear more. I ended up getting all of the Veirs' recordings I could get my hands on, and each one I picked up was a keeper.

The main reason, of course, given Laura's somewhat expressionless voice, is the quality of the songs, and the creativity of both her lyrics and the arrangements. On JULY FLAME, she has stripped back some of the heavy layers and most of the electronics of her last two albums, Year of Meteors and Saltbreakers, but this doesn't mean she has abandoned complexity. These songs are all intricate little symphonies with melodies that take unexpected turns and words that unfold like the pages of a book I can't put down. Veirs continues to use the natural world and the cosmos as the primary sources for her imagery, but she uses them to paint lovely portraits of people, herself, and of pure emotions. Her poetry can be challenging, using odd things like "steer manure" and a "stampeding buffalo" to describe impulses of the heart and spirit; stuff like "iron filings" and an "organ pipe" that one would not expect to find in a song lyric, and weaving it all into utterly gorgeous, dream-like stories of love, work, survival and death. One song, about a soldier killed in battle, is drawn from Rimbaud, and sits along side the rest of Veirs' wholly original poetry quite naturally. She lets the images do the talking, never preaching or lecturing, yet delivering potent messages just the same.

The instrumentation all through JULY FLAME is constantly interesting, with Laura's fine guitar and banjo playing, Eyvind Kang's viola, Steve Moore's keyboards, and Karl Blau's harmony vocals providing most of the base. Other instruments like saxophones, vibes, a thumb piano, clarinet, keyboards, upright bass, percussion, even a string quartet, are added here and there, but the overall sound is uncluttered and clean. This set is so excellent throughout, that it's hard to pick the best songs, but the standouts for me are "Sun is King," "I Can See Your Tracks," "Life Is Good Blues," "Silo Song," "Little Deschutes," "Summer Is The Champion," and the aptly titled closer, "Make Something Good." Yes, she did "make something good" -- all of these songs have something to say, something to give. In addition, Ms. Veirs' singing is better than ever; in fact, I don't think anyone, even with a better singing voice, would be able to improve upon these performances. There's a perfect meld of vocal, lyric writing and music here. Already, I can hardly wait for the next Laura Veirs project!
0Comment| 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 8, 2010
I first heard of Laura Veirs from her fabulous duet with Colin Meloy in The Decemberists "Crane Wife" album. I then fell in love with her Saltbreakers album. July Flame is even better than Saltbreakers.

As other reviewers have said, Laura's voice is an acquired taste. It doesn't have the strength or prettiness of someone like Neko Case or Alison Krauss. But its clear simplicity grows on you quickly. Her voice reminds me of shape-note singers. That being said, I don't think I'd enjoy listening to an entire album of her voice alone.

July Flame impresses me most with its rich harmonies. They bring a haunting, ethereal quality to her songs. I think "July Flame," "Sleeper in the Valley," and "Wide-Eyed, Legless" have the most complex and interesting harmonies. "Carol Kaye" is one song I particularly like where Laura's solo voice predominates and is pleasantly sweet. Parts of the album have a hint of country, but not enough to turn off someone like me who dislikes country.
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 9, 2016
I just saw Laura Veirs on tour with Neko Case & KD Lang for their latest album. I was least familiar with Veirs, but fell in love with her. This album has been on repeat for a week now and I'm not the least bit tired. I can't wait to get familiar with the rest of her work.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 26, 2010
This was one of those "You may also like" Amazon suggestions. All I can say is...How did I go this long without ever hearing of Laura Veirs. She even lives in my hometown for crying out loud.

This is my find of the year thus far. Folky, poppy, and sometimes retro (the 70's vibe of "Summer is the Champion" is fantastic), this disc just knocked me sideways. It was the perfect disc at the perfect time for me. It will be in heavy rotation in the car CD changer for at least the rest of the year.

I'll be catching up on the rest of her catalog if you need me.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERon October 18, 2011
"July Flame" is a "full blown" pedigree lo-fi album from Portland's wonderful Laura Veirs. Recorded in her back room, this is an enchanting, wry and often winsome album. It sometimes seems infused with some of the melancholy that combines with a mischievous quality to be found on Thomas Newman's glorious "American Beauty" soundtrack. There is nothing wrong in that at all and while "July Flame" is not high on the excitement Richter scale or will not exactly rock your world this is a lovely piece of work. It is an album indeed that you grow to love a bit more every listen particularly as you notice its small nuances, the introduction of a violin here or a viola there, a harp in the background and small pieces of orchestration.

Laura Veirs is hardly a household name and yet this is actually her seventh album since her debut in 1999. It is also the first since the excellent Saltbreakers in 2007. In that time she has recorded with the Decemberists and clearly has friends in high places as Jim James of My Morning Jacket fame appears in a cameo role singing on "I can see your tracks" the excellent opener to July Flame and on other parts of the album.

What then separates Veirs from the numerous angst ridden American folk singers on offer? Well for a start she is not angst ridden. The quality of some of the songs on July Flame have an incredibly light feel and on times this album almost floats so gently in parts you feel it could break. Listen to the last track "Make something good" and the gentle piano and strings and imagine yourself looking up in bright blue sky (as opposed to sinking in 10 foot snow drifts). It is dreamy and slow and pitched perfect. In the same vein "Where are you driving" could be on Sufjan Stevens magnificent "Seven Swans".

The title track in particular is wonderful and surprisingly sexy. It is the nearest thing on here to an "electric" track building on a taught guitar lines it ends with a "rousing" chorus and drums. It is going to be on repeat for months. Similarly the almost classical "Little Deschutes," sees Veirs piano meander over a slow burning song which wonders, "Why care about yesterday's haze / when the stars above are all ablaze?" Truly gorgeous stuff. The album is resolutely a summer album and on tracks like "Summer is the champion" and "Wide eyed legless" you can almost hear the insects in the background. "Sun King" is a nice warm alt country track and all this leads one reviewer to conclude that this is the perfect antidote to those winter blues. Indeed in "Carol Kaye" the song tips a wink to fellow Bella Union label members the Fleet Foxes albeit in a much understated way. Mention in dispatches should also go to Sleeper in the Valley with its soft orchestration and the very straightforward love song "When you give your heart" on which Veirs actually sounds a bit like Dido! "July Flame" is an album which transports you into summer pastures. True its far less quirky and original that say Joanna Newsom's "Vs" but it makes up for that in accessibility and warmth. It is one of those albums that you will probably play to death to counter the winter chill, but it is also an album that you will be still be listening to in five or ten years times which is the mark of true worth. An album of considerable charm.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I'll preface this interview by saying this was the first Laura Veirs' CD I purchased, so it was my first impression of her. Now that I own all her music, I can understand why so many think it's a bit of a departure for her.

However, this is truly one of my favorite CDs of all time. I've been listening to it steady since last summer and I just can't get over how amazing it is. Every time I listen, something new pops out at me- a certain change in the music, the way her voice lilts, a beautiful phrasing of words... I just haven't felt this way about music in a VERY long time and I'm so grateful for the experience.

I know that sounds dramatic, but I'm being honest. I've always liked pop/folk acoustic-based music (lately it's a ton of Neko Case, Tegan and Sara, Innocence Mission, and I've always been a big fan of Gillian Welch...) and there's just something about this collection of songs that is absolutely perfect to me. It's rare that I'll listen to an album and live EVERY song on it, and then have songs take turns being serious favorites of mine. And that's what happens- every week something new pops out, something resonates, and I go back to not being able to get enough of this collection of songs, from start to finish.

I think, if anything, this album is a little more dreamy and even "pretty" for Veirs- it sort of lacks a bit of the edge her earlier work has. It's more bittersweet, in a way. But fans should find something great here. And newcomers, too.

I just can't recommend this CD enough.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 10, 2010
Laura Veirs's latest album is beautifully crafted, hewn from the layers of this former geologist's experiences and imagination. It's so thought-provoking to be almost surreal.
Some recordings are cast forever in our memories to recall a certain time, place, or season. I think Suzanne Vega's first record and I think of fall. This has the heat, thirst, desire, and brilliance of summer all through it.
I imagine so many tracks with visuals as I hear them, and expect to hear more of her on film soundtrack.
Witty, literate, sensual, even sexy... but innocent.
And for those who like to listen loudly, this recording is clear, and worthy of the increase of the gain.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 23, 2014
This one I found on accident and right before I met my partner on the 4th of July 3 years ago.
The song July Flame has become our song and I'll always love this release simply because of that alone.
Every time the song plays it almost brings tears to my eyes after everything I've been through and finally have come to meet an amazing man.

Her voice is beautiful and the lyrics are so deep and take you right there.
The music is fantastic and they make such good use of instruments unlike anyone else I've listened to.
My favorite songs are:
2. July Flame
4. Where Are You Driving?
7. Little Deschutes
8. Summer Is The Champion
10. Sleeper In The Valley
11. Wide-Eyed, Legless
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon February 1, 2010
I heard Laura Viers being interviewed on NPR. I didn't rush right out and get her CD but found myself thinking about it over the next few days. Finally I bought it, and listened to it all the way through, and again...and again. Right now it's in my player more than any other CD. It's easy to understand why the Decemberists guy has already proclaimed this the best album of 2010. I also hear a little Neko Case in her voice, and the arrangements sometimes suggest Sufjan Stevens - all comparisons that have been made elsewhere. She is indie, through and through. To me her music is calming. The music is mostly pretty stripped-down. I like all the songs so much, it seems wrong to pick favorites, but I especially like Carol Kaye and Wide Eyed Legless (the latter in which she sets poetry by Rimbaud to music). It's exciting to dicover a new artist (new to me anyway), and Laura Viers is a good one!
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Customers also viewed these items

Need customer service? Click here