By Max Freedman
Only towards completion of my Zoom chat with Tamara Lindeman does the painting behind her fully come into view. When Lindeman, who’s at her home in Toronto, moves somewhat to her left, behind her appears a portrait of deep blue waves crashing against a sandy coast below beautiful, remote hills under a sundown. “It is very completely me,” Lindeman states of the painting, and now that we have actually talked thoroughly about Lack Of Knowledge, her similarly prompt and classic 5th album as The Weather condition Station, I need to concur.
On Ignorance, Lindeman’s lyricism overflows with natural images– sundowns, oceans, birds, flora– as she ruminates on how our de-prioritization of nature and the world around us ties into our growing seclusion from one another. “The disconnection from each other is the same as the disconnection from the world,” she states.
Lindeman has long told dejected personal stories in highly detailed, uncompromisingly poetic language, but on Ignorance, she expands her vibrant images to focus on the whole world– specifically, the urgency and ramifications of ceaselessly accelerating environment change. As Lindeman composed the album, she recognized, “[Since] I have a soft, feminine, mild voice … I can convey [strength] with the music,” which here manifests as familiar four-on-the-floor rhythms that sound nothing like the finger-plucked cascades of 2015’s Commitment or the rollicking folk-rock of 2017’s The Weather Condition Station The album nevertheless originated from, as typical for Lindeman, deeply individual concepts, including her questioning, “Why was I, as a teen, so susceptible, so simple to misguide? I was so easily convinced that … browbeating or shittiness was love.” (Lindeman, now 36, is a former actress who, at 18, starred in the Canadian-Australian TELEVISION program Guinevere Jones)
If everything sounds a bit dark thematically, it sounds approximately the opposite of that musically. Lack Of Knowledge‘s rhythmic focus leads to the catchiest Weather Station music to date, and Lindeman’s undeniable hooks are completely deliberate. Her mantra while tape-recording with her bandmates (all of whom other than for bassist/guitarist Ben Whiteley are new Weather Station members whom Lindeman knows through the Toronto music scene) finest summarizes this technique: “Everyone is attempting to reinvent the wheel. In some cases you got ta just utilize the wheel!”
This sentiment illuminates a more laid-back, enjoyable side of Lindeman that contrasts her shy, shy credibility. Ignorance is likewise unprecedentedly positive and straightforwardly pop for The Weather Condition Station, and amidst this left turn– gusts of orchestral noise, gauzy artificial backdrops, constant drumbeats, ever-husky vocals– Lindeman sounds more natural and confident than ever before.
Lindeman states that her reflections on teenage deceit led to “Burglar,” Ignorance‘s cathartically slow-building lead single. Rather than railing against industrialism with “Burglar,” Lindeman aimed to compare vibrant deceptiveness to modern social lies and strolled away asking, “How can we be [misled and] convinced that billionaires are great for the economy?
International issues of this sort aren’t totally absent from The Weather Station’s previous output. On Ignorance, however, the ever-pressing global worry of environment change is freshly widespread. In the Lack Of Knowledge press bio, Lindeman says that “the deepest emotional experience” she had as she wrote was– and this is at once eyebrow-raising and entirely believable– “reading the IPCC unique report on 1.5 degrees” of international warming.
Lindeman’s line of questioning ties neatly into her fascination with how humanity has actually ended up being so disconnected from the earth. This flexing of the earth to humanity’s needs might sound rooted entirely in modern climate troubles, Lindeman sees today’s concerns as indebted to centuries of stifled interest.
This concept partially discusses the album’s title, about which Lindeman states, “When you can accept that you don’t understand, you acquire understanding, and when you believe that you do know, you are unable to know.
Lindeman also sees this “unashamed not understanding,” to price quote Lack Of Knowledge‘s bio, as fundamental to how people communicate. That’s why interpersonal strife pops up in spades throughout Lack Of Knowledge as Lindeman explores human disconnectedness.
Lindeman most strongly binds her fascinations with human disconnection and nature on Ignorance‘s jaw-droppingly strong second through fourth tracks. On the carefully groovy, breathtakingly beautiful “Attempted to Tell You,” Lindeman addresses a subject so “scared to attempt and pull apart the unlimited rain you thought of as your heart” that they grow remote.
Artificiality also arises on the sprightly, disco-lite “Parking area,” Lack Of Knowledge‘s astonishing 4th track. The song is ostensibly about Lindeman enjoying a bird fly outside a club, however a better glimpse exposes a terrible thesis: No matter how far we pull back into human-made constructs, nature surrounds and outlives all of us. “This profound experience of [seeing] the world through a non-human point of view is actually interesting and stunning,” Lindeman says about “Parking area.” This belief grows from familiar to gloriously transcendent during the song’s house stretch as Lindeman repeatedly beckons, “You know, it just eliminates me when I”– with invigorating emphasis on the world “eliminates”– “see some bird fly.”
A similar impact takes place on “Atlantic,” Ignorance‘s fluttering 2nd track and arguable peak, on which lyrics such as “I must get all this passing away off my mind/ I ought to truly know much better than to read the headings” feel at once relatable and revelatory. These lines come amidst sensational setting descriptions such as “What a sunset/ Blood red floods the Atlantic” and “pink clouds massing on the cliffs,” which carry us best next to her into a scene like the painting from her space. Easily, we’re reconnected.
- The Weather Station