A thrilling career best...

Jane Weaver’s ascent into the Actual Top 40 Album Charts is richly deserved. Her long, storied career involves everything from appearing in Badly Drawn Boy cover art to releases on Manchester Records, the cult imprint run by legendary New Order manager Rob Gretton.

Her current vein of solo form, however, is undeniably the best of her career to date. Back to back triumphs ‘Modern Kosmology’ and ‘Loops In The Secret Society’ merged analogue synths with psychedelic elements, piercing the psychological veil that smothers the North Of England in the process. ‘Flock’ raises the bar still further, but it seems to represent a deft inversion of her previous approach – where once she dappled pop elements within her psychedelic tapestries, now she’s writing pop songs surrounded by layers of hallucinogenic noise.

Thrillingly unpretentious, topics range from social media exhaustion to folk horror tropes, while her melodic openness makes ‘Flock’ an absolute delight. ‘The Revolution Of Super Visions’ is a wonderful opening gambit, while the minimalist, piquant ‘Heartlow’ drives its two-note backing melody deep into the subconscious mind.

‘Stages Of Phases’ revels in its light, pithy, playful electronics, yet title track ‘Flock’ feels rather more complex, rather more allusive. Alternating between vibrant pop energy and determined insouciance, Jane Weaver’s new album illuminates and disguises in equal measure, a sign of the outright confidence of its maker.

Super-catchy finale ‘Solarised’ elevates her work still further, the finely contoured digitalism retaining the humanity of its author. Airy and full of light, it’s a refreshing end to an album that illuminates at every turn.

Raising her game still further, Jane Weaver has produced what could rank as a career-best project. The best part is, though, that the elastic creativity which drives ‘Flock’ suggests that much more may lie ahead.

8/10

Words: Robin Murray

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