Lush imagery derived from the natural world again infests Laura Veirs's fresh crop of intensely literate songs on Saltbreakers, her third Nonesuch release. The briny sea is Veirs's primary muse this time around, and the songs are littered with references to whales, waves, flying fish, sails, and even a merman fishing for human females. But also laced into these Sargasso reveries are evocations of the shifting tides of human emotion, reflecting Veirs's personal upheavals. "Sorry I was cruel," she sings to kick off the album, pouring salt in somebody's wounds, but ultimately seeking self-preservation. Backed by her regular band (which won't be along for this solo gig), as well as viola master Eyvind King and guitar monster Bill Frisell, Veirs crafted an intricate, often reserved folk-pop soundscape on Saltbreakers that seems to drift with the ocean swells, alive with the teeming life below the surface. The most dramatic break from that is the squally rocker "Phantom Mountain." Opening will be New Zealand's Liam Finn (son of Crowded House/Split Enz's Neil Finn), whose acclaimed debut, I'll Be Lightning (Yep Roc), overflows with clever, intriguingly convoluted indie-pop that flexes scores of insidious hooks.
Tue., May 13, 7:30 p.m., 2008