It’s time to forget all that’s gone before. Whether you’re aware of Laura Veirs already or not, this album deserves approaching with open ears and a fresh outlook. An outlook which Veirs herself has begun working with in recent years. Her last album, 2020’s My Echo, was written and mixed just prior to her marriage break-up. It wasn’t your standard divorce album though. It marked a crossroads in her career. If, on the surface, it looked like Veirs dealt with the fundamentals of making music from writing the songs to singing them, the arrangements and production were always left to her partner. Even the track listing was finalised by him. It meant that Veirs came to Found Light with understandable doubts. She’d never even played guitar whilst singing on tape at the same time. The question is answered emphatically within the first few bars of this wonderful album and is an emphatic yes!
“Give but don’t give too much of yourself away” she sings on the coda of ‘Seaside Haiku’. Veirs is more of an open book these days but has previously stated that she likes to be personal in her songwriting, but not overly confessional. It’s a brilliant track, the third on the album and follows an opening one-two salvo of ‘Autumn Song’ – a duet with herself (“night stitches day and day stitches night) – and ‘Ring Song’ (“I pawned my wedding ring / at the Silver Lining I felt sad / I also felt a weight go flying”) where she lays out the aftermath of the split to a backing of beautiful acoustic guitar and piano.
Musically, she is stronger than she’s ever been. Whether it be on latest single ‘Eucalyptus’, with its urgent rhythmic electronic backdrop or the the stunning ‘Time Will Show You’ (“spoon you in an Airbnb”). Other highlights include the almost nursery rhyme like ‘T&0’ where Veirs addresses someone where the romance has either burned out already or never reached fruition to begin with – “you are the sunbeams of the house”.
Found Light was recorded in Portland’s Jackpot Studios, after some brief sessions with Death Cab for Cutie’s Dave Depper and some solo recordings done in her own home, and is the sound of an artist blossoming in their own skin. Veirs found herself co-producing the album with her friend Ismaily, who guided her but also allowed her the space to make her own decisions. Guests like Sam Amidon an Karl Blau were invited to guest on the album (and they both make their presence felt on the aforementioned ‘Time Will Show You’) – it’s the sound of someone realising that they’re actually great at doing something having done it already for the majority of their adult life.
Veirs also discovered herself away from the confines of the studio, she started seeing other people, both romantically and artistically and has started painting and exercising. Despite the sadness of the situation that led to these songs being written in the first place, they are a testament to the inspiration of independence. They’re a reminder that we’re always capable of more, even in the face of great loss. The healing has been done and the world has been reengaged with. Veirs has always had talent in bundles, but this time she is presenting herself on her own terms. As listeners, we are very lucky to be able to hear the fruits of these endeavours.