Meg Baird - Furling (Album Review)

Meg Baird wants to show you another world. The psychedelic folk tones of her new album Furling underline a slow-burning and patient collection of dreamy songs that act as conduits for inter-plane travels. The honest-to-goodness production, mainly helmed by producer Tim Green at his Grass Valley Louder Studios, packages Baird's songs in a pellucid box of clear tones and hazy environments that is simultaneously implicit and vague. Nevertheless, the California-based musician's approach is rooted in sincerity. Her songs are open, and their delivery is gentle, but neither should be underestimated; her careful measures are potent moments of unadulterated beauty.


A folkloric aspect of Furling can be found in the studies of characters and their journeys, applying weighty import to the humdrum elements of voyages and human activity ("Ship Captain", "Twelve Saints"). Unfortunately, the lyrics are not exactly the most intelligible, like on the opening track, "Ashes, Ashes", where the power of Baird's vocals is reduced to whispers, the literal meaning of the words trumped by the impression they make, albeit without losing impact. 

There's variety. The upbeat "Will You Follow Me Home?" adds walkable rhythms through snappy percussion and an invigorating bass line. Baird has established herself as a folk guitarist's guitarist through her early output, which mainly interpreted folk standards in a preciously earthy way. While her distinctively bright, playful, and always haunting acoustic guitar work can be found in abundance on Furling, like the album highlight "Cross Bay" or the moody "Unnamed Drives", Baird has also folded in emotive piano and enchanting vibraphone to the musical stew. These instruments are most successfully incorporated into Baird's musical world on the closing track, "Wreathing Days", an intimate lament where Baird lets her expressive nature become unshackled from the associations of her acoustic guitar, exposing an exotic flavour to her mysterious singing.


Furling is an intoxicating album. Though the hazy, high-fidelity sustain of Baird's voice and playing makes the songs ethereal beyond immediate comprehension, their core soul is maintained through Baird's heartfelt delivery, which often feels like witnessing someone open a door from this world to the next and catching a glimpse of the beauty that makes it through.