BY JONATHAN LEVITT
The White Birch has just released their latest record The Weight of Spring and it’s definitely not a record for those afraid of a little introspection. With moments informed by the Tindersticks mixed with David Sylvian and a smidgen of Antony and the Johnsons, the band has turned in a very fragile and poignant record. What reveals itself upon first listen is a lot of thought has gone into the arrangements. This album takes its time to unfold, but as it does, it enters your soul, stirring all sorts of emotions that you had shut away. In fact the spring here may be the renewal of ones ability to feel again in a world that seems increasingly distant.
“The Fall” has managed to capture the late day fading sunlight with the leaves drifting down and smoke from fireplaces beginning to fill the air. And as the last moths of the season dance a ring round the ol’ porch light, you for a brief moment come face to face with your own mortality.
“Solid Dirt”: This is one of the tracks that immediately grabbed me as a reminiscence of days gone by. “Once I was just a boy” utters the singer Ola Fløttum as he recalls that famous passage from Corinthians: “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
The band have created a virtual tour of some of the major and minor moments of our lives allowing the listener to understand certain situations with the much needed perspective that only time and certain season can bring. That said there is a determined hope in this song recognizing that time can heal and that spring heals the emotional wounds we endure as we go round and round in this life.
“Lamentation” starts off with a piano and drone in the background, cast over a very cool drum beat. Fløttum sings, “Through the hanging trees I could only see the light..as it left” “Through the wilting trees I could only see the dark… as it came”. The song takes the listener to not only the heart of the album but also the first stirrings of the new spring as it breaks winter’s steely grip.
“The Weight of Spring” is its own rumination on the state of love sung by the two singers of the band. “ When spring was bold as hearts turned cold” “ I close my eyes to the sound of spring” “Now We’ll Never change” — and as the woman sings it you can hear a wavering in her voice that ended up making me all verklempt.
“Spring” closes the album with what is probably the most positive track on the album. It’s an instrumental that expresses hope and informs us that spring has firmly taken hold and that life moves on.
The Weight of Spring is a stunning album that is so well honed and emotionally resonant that it’s hard to shake when you come to the end of it. It’s about remembering instead of forgetting, so we can be stronger the next time the emotions hit us, because you know they will.
DOWNLOAD: “Spring,” “Solid Dirt”