Laura Veirs is coming up on The Lookout, her 10th studio album and the first since her collaborative trio with Neko Case and k.d. lang. So far we’ve heard two of its tracks, “Everybody Needs You” and the Sufjan Stevens-speckled “Watch Fire.” Today, we’re giving you another.
In “Lightning Rod,” Veirs is joined by the spirited voices of children as she sings lyrics that could very well be directed toward them. “Ben Franklin could have been killed/ With key and kite upon that hill/ Devotional experiments/ In spirit, you are much like him,” she sings. You get the gist: Allowing oneself to be exposed and vulnerable could attract danger but could also be a pivotal moment for great discovery. Like “Watch Fire,” it speaks of fear and uncertainty, but through an oddly comforting perspective.
The video for “Lightning Rod” continues Veirs’ trend toward mixed media. The clip — illustrated by Izar Etxeberria and animated by Eñaut Uribesalgo, two fans Veirs met through social media — begins with three birds lifting off from a wire to join a flock of birds through the rain. Watch below.
Veirs offered some background on the origin of the animation:
The video was made by two artists from the Basque region of Spain: Izar Etxeberria (illustrations) and Eñaut Uribesalgo (animations). Izar tagged me on Instagram last fall because she had hand-written some of my lyrics to an old song. When I saw her handwriting I thought, “This is beautiful. I wonder if she will do the lettering for my album art?” I messaged her to ask if she would be interested and she was! You can see her hand-lettering for the album below. I LOVE IT!
I just kept asking Izar to do more and more art for the album and this led us to the video for “Lightning Rod” which I absolutely love. It captures the joys and attending risks of the creative process that I’m discussing in the lyrics, as well as my overall love of mixing science and art. (Izar studied biology; I studied geology.) Social media annoys me in a lot of ways but I feel so lucky to have found these brilliant artists halfway across the world because of it. I hope the video brings greater exposure to Izar and Enuat — they really poured their hearts into it and it shows. I adore it and appreciate their efforts!
Here’s that album art: