Album: Beth Orton – Weather Alive

Photo by: Eliot Lee Hazel.

Her first album in six years, Beth Orton returns with Weather Alive, an album some are calling her best work. And they certainly have a case. Proving once and for all she’s just as prolific individually as she is with other artists, Orton delivers a deeply personal body of work that’ll have you feeling as though you wrote it yourself.

Orton describes this album as “a sensory exploration,” and from the moment it begins, it’s clear why. The artist’s vision is apparent, and by the last minute of the titular track, you can almost see Orton in the wild, connecting with nature as she sings, “the world is so beautiful outside,” a thesis if you will. Weather Alive perfectly displays Orton’s rare gift of not just connecting the listener with music but connecting the listener with nature and with Orton herself.

Throughout the album, we’re presented with myriad special musical moments, like Orton’s speaking voice in lieu of singing, sublime woodwinds, and chimes, all of which add to the haunting beauty of the record and show her unique ability to perfectly choose instruments according to the message she’s sending.

Any listener of Weather Alive would be remiss not to note the near perfection of Orton’s voice. Her melodic voice is dyed with a maturity and control many vocalists never reach, as evidenced by her performance of “Forever Young.” She effortlessly moves from note to note – singing is as natural to Orton as speaking.

We leave the album how we entered – completely relaxed and melted into Orton’s beautiful world. Should she take another six-year break from recording, Weather Alive will carry us through.

Acacia Deadrick

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