On 2021’s ‘Ignorance’ Tamara Lindeman – aka The Weather Station – reached a new peak in her career. An album that confronted climate catastrophe and its personal and political ramifications head on, the Canadian’s fifth full-length instantly became a canonical record for our terrifying times.
Lindeman made ‘Ignorance’ during the winter of 2018, a time of “intense creativity” in which she wrote far more songs than ever before. While many the tracks that ended up on the album were a closed shop of acutely focused, narrative-driven songs that interacted with one another, there was plenty more left over. Many of these other songs make up The Weather Station’s new album ‘How Is It That I Should Look At The Stars’ – a kind of “companion” piece to last year’s release.
In the notebook used by Lindeman to write both albums, ‘How Is It That I Should Look At The Stars’ begins under the subtitle of “ballads”. And featuring no drums across its entirety, it shows a softer, more instinctive side to her songwriting.
In a 2021 interview with NME, Lindeman evocatively described ‘Ignorance’ as an “oozing, festering wound that I was not acknowledging,” while ‘How Is It…’s songs come from a place that is “almost naive”. Recorded live in three days, these 10 songs go straight from heart, to pen, to tape. Musical flourishes are added along the way, but its core almost exclusively revolves around Lindeman and her piano.
On the gorgeous ‘Endless Time’, she imagines looking back on our current moment with hindsight, and dreams of a time when “I can still walk out on the street and buy strawberries and lilies”. Fluttering synths punctuate ‘Ignorance’ – a song that gave its predecessor its title – and on this album’s quasi-title track ‘Stars’, Lindeman drives out to the desert to stare into the sky and ponder the damage we’re doing. “So overwhelmed by the beauty of the sky / How could I not be?” she sings, either hopeful and fearful. In the album’s title, she grapples with which emotion to choose, torn between the two.
Crucially, ‘How Is It That I Should Look At The Stars’ manages to stand on its own two feet and avoids the fate of being cornered as ‘Ignorance’ B-sides. The two albums inevitably intertwine and interact with each other, but this second chapter has plenty to say on its own. Far from just leftovers, the second excellent album to come out of this rich period proves that the well runs deep in Tamara Lindeman’s imperial phase.
Release date: February 4
Record label: Fat Possum