The Weather Station Returns Quickly With Sparse ‘How Is It’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

Last year, The Weather Station’s Ignorance seemingly came out of nowhere, often as great albums do, to plow its way into countless year-end lists. Tamara Lindeman’s opus was written in 2018, during a particularly creative time that, also like many other great albums, yielded a whole lot of extra material. Sometimes situations like this simply end up as a spotty double album, other times it can be more effective as two releases, as is the case with Amnesiac and every once in a while, the second album eclipses the first, as the surprise Thank Your Lucky Stars did in 2015. How Is It That I Should Look At The Stars is no Lucky Stars and not nearly as good as Ignorance either, but it does live up to the austerity of its recording sessions? Lindeman’s notebook blanketed these songs with a very different theme than that of the climate change fixations on her previous LP; these songs were strict “Ballads”.

How Is It may not be the stunner that many fans were hoping for, but it is much better than any collection of “scraps” has any right to be? For one, these tracks are objectively more beautiful than any of the pulsing rhythms on Ignorance, although it helps that Lindeman went drumless on this one to limit any distractions. That disparity is paramount to understanding these two “companion albums”, where Ignorance plows through its thematic, anthemic anxiety, How Is It massages the listener with its soft melodies and hushed vocals, putting Lindeman front and center. These two albums are different, and while How Is It can easily stand on its own, its greatest qualities shine better when compared to its predecessor, as Lindeman put it, “the moon to its sun”. In other words, a smaller, more reflective, and closer entity. This may be exactly what one should be looking for in an album like this.

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