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'July Flame,' Laura Veirs 

An otherwise impressive record gets bogged down by Veirs' nature obsession


For most of her latest record, July Flame, Laura Veirs’ crystalline, girlish vocals are impressive — strength and cheery optimism gushing forth from this one steady, solo female voice. The record, the Portland-based artist’s seventh full-length album, showcases the singer’s ability to express a range of emotions confidently and powerfully: She’s unapologetically flighty on the title track, flagrantly romantic on “Sun Is King” and “When You Give Your Heart,” and sincerely doubtful on “Little Deschutes.”

But despite all of her confidence and clear talent, Veirs’ lyrical obsession with the bucolic — she sings of buffalo and bluebells, bubbling rivers and green valleys on every track of the record — produces a record that is thematically flat. By the end, despite the fact that each song sounds good, you find yourself wishing for a song that talks about something other than forests and bumblebees and horseback riding.

DOWNLOAD: “I Can See Your Tracks”

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