British singer and pop experimentalist Jane Weaver returns after four years from the release of her last record of all original music as a solo artist with “Flock,” a collection of catchy and at times funk-infused songs built around electronic flourishes, synth sounds and drum loops but where melody always remains front and center.
Weaver has had a long career that’s flown under the mainstream radar but has had a devoted following among fans. She started out leading the post-punk outfit Kill Laura in the early 1990s and has had an idiosyncratic solo career since then. In recent years, her work has experimented with electronic music. In 1997, she told Paste magazine, “I think it’s mainly to do with going from using the guitar to exploring the world of synth and electronic music. It’s different types of machinery that create different types of noises that create different kinds of vibes.”
On “Flock,” electric bursts from synthesizers and drum machines serve as a foundation for the record but Weaver’s pop sensibilities are what shape the songs.
Weaver has described “Heartlow,” one of two songs she’s released ahead of the album’s March 5 debut as a “homage to a lost generation of misfit girl groop records.” And the song does have the feel of being a song by a 60s girl group that’s really into Stereolab.
Elements of funk brought to life by jangly guitar riffs and passionate vocals are fused throughout three of the catchiest songs on the record: “The Revolution of Super Visions,” “Sunset Dreams” and “Pyramid Schemes.”
Other standout tracks include “Stages of Phases,” a poppy song that highlights Weaver’s vocals amid jaunty bursts of electronica and the album’s danceable closer “Solarised.”
During these ongoing pandemic times, we can all use a bit of happy music to take our minds off the constant carousel of bad news. “Flock” is just the record to do that.
Juan Lozano-February 7, 2021- 4/5 stars