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Boomkat Product Review:
For this latest album, Laura Veirs parts company with Nonesuch and opts for a self-release in the USA, via her Raven Marching Band Records imprint, with a Bella Union airing in the UK. Apparently (in Autumn 2009) The Decemberists' Colin Meloy has somewhat impetuously already declared the album his favourite of 2010, and while such statements might be a tad tricky to justify, it is (naturally) really good. After 2007's Saltbreakers it wouldn't have been unreasonable to have expected Veirs to have catapulted into far broader success, but on July Flame she maintains the hallmarks of her cult status, all underpinned by an honest approach to song-craft that's never overcooked or outwardly commercial. The record (produced with Decemberists collaborator Tucker Martine) sounds brilliantly put together, and tellingly, remains intimate and humble even when Veirs starts to pile up the arrangements, as on the great, string-stacked title track, or the miniaturised orchestrations of 'Silo Song'. There's nothing quite so immediate as 'Don't Lose Yourself' was on the last album, and the sequence gets off to a slightly sleepy start with the likes of the Fleet Foxes-esque 'I Can See Your Tracks' (which features My Morning Jacket's Jim James rather than any of Fleet Foxes) and the un-self-consciously countrified 'Sun Is King', but it's these more pared down moments that make the record such a joy on repeated listens. This is a seriously strong collection of songs - possibly Veirs' best to date - and gives off all the right signals to suggest it might just be loitering around those end-of-2010 charts afterall.