The Weather Station's music has always been about the power in silence and the space between notes as much as the resonant narratives contained in her delicate folk songs. For over a decade, Toronto's Tamara Lindeman relied on sparse acoustic guitars, traditional folk instruments, and her timeless, room-filling voice to create graceful, character-filled worlds on albums like 2011's All of That Was Mine and 2015's Loyalty. But where those efforts found their strength in being quiet, her latest album The Weather Station, which is out now, adds an edge with propulsive drums, lush string arrangements, and electric guitars without ever losing its heart.Take a song as pretty and affecting as "You and I (On the Other Side of the World)," as well as its new video premiering above at Noisey, and the album's tenderness is in full view.
"This album just felt like a very natural progression for me. It was just where I was at and it felt like something I had to do. I was on tour and playing music live a lot and that really changed my perspective," Lindeman tells me. As she takes my call, she's on her first day of a nine-day European tour, part of a larger trip that'll see her on the road until late December with only a few breaks. She then explains how her previous live performances shaped the album, "I was taking very subtle and gentle music to a live setting and that's pretty hard to do. While it was really rewarding, I wanted to put more of myself out there and not hold back when I was on stage in front of people. I wanted to move, I wanted to play louder, and I just wanted to release myself, I guess."
While The Weather Station is ostensibly the closest thing Lindeman has come to making a rock album, the songs are still densely lyrical. Excellent tracks like the introspective "Thirty" are meditations of finding joy in growing older and the driving-yet-heartbreaking "Kept It All To Myself" are particularly touching, no moment on the album tugs at the heartstrings more than "You and I (On the Other Side of the World)." Lindeman sings of intimate, deeply nostalgic memories in a relationship, like of "We wrote letters to each other / As though addressing the ocean / That we stand before now" or "Walking the streets / When it was too hot to eat." Like most of Lindeman's songs, it's never totally joyful and sweet, because she also sings, "But we never got better / We never got to talking / We never figured out the questions." Over atmospheric guitars and gorgeous strings that Lindeman self-arranged, its startlingly stunning arrangement matches the lyrical heft.
"That song is both about feeling a very wonderful and deep connection with someone and also about like the weight of that and how you don't know you don't what'll unfold at the end of a relationship," says Lindeman. "In a relationship, the closer you get to someone the closer you feel but you can also feel further apart. I think that I've always had that sense of being interested in those dichotomies of life and how everything has multiple sides to it. Popular songs are so commonly reducing things to their essence and cutting out the complexity, for me it's exciting to include the complexity of life."
To go along with the single, Lindeman is also sharing an equally sweet and serene video directed by Colin Medley. Filmed at an Ontario Fall Fair, it documents a peaceful outdoor day. She explains, "Those fairs are such classic things. They're so crazy and cheesy and the livestock competitions are so strange and it's a strange ritual. I thought it'd be a cool place to shoot a video and show a love story." Watch the French-subtitled clip starring Lindeman and Ian Kehoe above and be sure to pick up The Weather Station here.
Josh Terry is a writer. He's on Twitter.