Love In Constant Spectacle

8/10 Mancunian songwriter takes a left turn, this time inward.

- By Piers Martin

JANE WEAVER is playing a very good long game. She’s just turned 52 and has spent over 30 of those years deeply involved in music in Manchester – from her early bands Kill Laura and Misty Dixon to her free-„owing solo output and more wayward projects such as Fenella and Neotantrik – and yet this latest release, Love In Constant Spectacle, is by some distance her most satisfying album. Full of surprises and tantalisin­gly familiar, it’s the sound of Weaver stretching out and drawing from her wealth of experience to fashion a heartfelt, head-spinning account of grief and solace.

Viewing the curve of her career, you can see how she got here: 2014’s The Silver Globe and its follow-up Modern Kosmology packaged her hippie-ish idealism in proggy chansons and Can-like grooves, a homespun blend of Hawkwind and Hot Chocolate that paved the way for Flock in 2021. This, she’d decided, was to be her pop breakthrou­gh, one she’d play to her swelling fanbase at numerous festivals. She studied the hits of Hall & Oates and the Beegees and emulated the parts that worked for her, producing an array of celestial psych nuggets like “The Revolution Of Super Visions” and “Heartlow” that sounded great on the radio. The pandemic scuppered most of her plans – she only ˜nished touring that record in March last year – but Flock certainly helped Weaver take flight.

It was during her band’s runs in the

US that this album began to take shape, on long desert drives across Southern states into the sunset, soundtrack­ed by the blissful pastorals of Harold Budd and Vangelis. Weaver was coming to terms with her father’s illness and eventual passing, and sought some kind of comfort in the natural world, an attempt by one fairly well attuned to the frequency of the cosmos to place order on the chaos of life. Securing John Parish as producer for the record also allowed Weaver the luxury of revelling in the sound of her music, happily relinquish­ing control to the man who’s stewarded records by PJ Harvey, Aldous Harding and Dry Cleaning. In the past, Weaver has had a hands-on role in every aspect of her albums, necessitat­ed by budgetary constraint­s and an inherent resourcefu­lness, oŸen recording them bit by bit over a couple of years in a local studio. So to have a ˜rst-class studio booked months in advance, for a batch of songs already well-rehearsed, with a producer known for channellin­g the essence of an artist, gave Weaver the space and con˜dence to look at her work from di¡erent angles.

For some songs she tried the technique of automatic writing, translatin­g her lyrics to give the impression she’s singing someone else’s words, which provides a sense of welcome detachment. The opening lines of the spellbindi­ng title track, “Over the head of you/wanted an island to give to you”, might stem from this process, but it’s the song’s Roxy-ish swagger that pulls you

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 ?? ?? Seeking solace: Jane Weaver
Seeking solace: Jane Weaver

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