With relatively quiet backing music and plenty to sing, Laura Veirs gets a lot out of her voice on her sixth album, Saltbreakers. Degrees of piano-driven shuffles dominate the album, leaving Veirs plenty of room to spout out flowing vocals and fill a lot of gaps. A folksy lady with plenty to say, she finds smooth balance between her animated voice and the rest of the music on Saltbreakers, and develops a lounge-worthy, mid-tempo sound to go along with her rootsy side.
Saltbreakers opens up with an apologetic verse and a wink on "Pink Light" then plunges into a rolling, clapping, shimmering beat. There’s a similar sharpness on each song on the album. The next track, "Ocean Night Song" is delicate and hypnotic, but Veirs’ vocals have plenty of energy. She drives each song with untiring vocals and builds sound around them.
What sets Saltbreakers apart is Veirs’ ability to turn something unassuming into something eccentric. She turns subtle acoustic songs into a flowing shanty ("Cast a Hook") and a warm, campfire chant ("To The Country"). On "Black Butterfly", she sympathetically narrates over an icy piano, which warms the song nicely. Songs like "Don’t Lose Yourself" and "Wandering Kind" have chilled, mid-tempo paces and Veirs’ voice turns them into exciting jaunts.
On Saltbreakers, Veirs blends folk subtlety with art-rock mischief and gives the album an intoxicating mood. Humble but confident, Veirs’ vocals are plentiful and use just the right amount of spotlight. The backing music behind her is absorbing as well, and makes for an all-around intruiging album.