Iconic Coloradan songstress Laura Veirs shows little sign of abating her post-millennial tirade of bucolic country-flecked alt-folk. Her guitar prowess has proved jaw-dropping, and her knack for spinning ripping yarns about love, life and loss is that of a natural pop star - Veirs is the complete package. Her strain of folk isn't a traditional kind, it's one that consistently pushes boundaries and bends people's expectations; she employs grunge guitars and caterwauling synths, and various spindly Americana riffs you'd associate with Stetsons and cud-chewin', moustachiod gentlefolk that drawl so heavily us Brits would need a translator. But no, this is an amalgam of avant-folk, jazzy-dixie pop and post-grunge.

The first record of new material since 2010's July Flame, Warp and Weft is the much-awaited follow-up to what critics hailed as "her finest work" - considering her career has spanned almost fifteen years, that's quite a claim. Featuring guest musicians such as Neko Case, and the promise of origami inside (how novel!), it appears to be quite a heavyweight release in a sparse summer schedule.

As 'White Cherry' dawns, disjointed saxophone and Disney-twinkle chimes, sleigh bells and dreamy neo-jazz keys arise. Double bass shakes the effort with an earthy thump and Veirs' flighty tone sails through a mesh of melodic cacophony - it's chaotic, complex and gorgeous. Despite the complicated timbre and deluge of noises, it's a cloudy slab of bliss. 'Ikaria' opens with minimalist structures and a fantastical math-rock guitar riff. There are choral harmonies and suddenly, before the pinnacle of the track, it dissipates, giving way to 'Sadako Folding Cranes'. It's a more standard Veirs-folk ditty, with waltzing acoustic guitars and an air of mystique. It's a style of folk with Eastern twangs, and far from being a sonic landscape full of verdant oaks and neat little hedgerows, it's an aural journey through a foggy copse, thick with frost and night-time terrors.

Veirs has been forthcoming about the inspirations behind her ninth record: "I'm haunted by the idea that something terrible could happen to my kids but that fear pushes me to embrace the moment. This record is an exploration of extremes - deep, dark suffering and intense, compassionate love." Already heavily pregnant at the start of the recording process, she explores themes of motherhood and the pre-natal anxieties that it inherently brings. The "deep, dark suffering," she speaks of is perhaps easier to decipher than the "compassionate love," as her off-kilter style lends itself to that atmosphere better, but with a little digging, it's not difficult to peel back the record's skin and relish the beating heart inside. Beneath the frayed tensions and the anxious mindset, there's a deep-down knowledge that love and safety will reign supreme. In that sense, there's a fairytale aspect lying underneath the themes - even though sometimes things may seem hopeless or scary, love prevails.

Predictably, 'America' is very American sounding. Big thumping grungy bass and twinkling country guitars, mixed with 90s sax motifs and Billboard strings - it may sound like an homage to the US of A, but Veirs isn't particularly complimentary: "Founding fathers roll in their graves/ in America." It's more a veiled critique than a heartwarming ode. Delicate opener 'Sun Song' gallops along with Veirs' deft plucking and a summery disposition. It's a light sliver compared to the yawning maw of darkness that's more vocally present on Warp and Weft; although there's hulking metallic creaks, it builds to a glorious climax, with arco and pizzicato strings, synths and boisterous axes.

Warp and Weft is a strident example of how to do folk proper. Instead of conforming, she bursts from the conventions in every direction - instrumentation, subject matter, tone, structure - skewing our assumptions. As she challenges our preconceptions of the genre, she also crafts a sublime LP, full of the ups and downs of life and parenthood, accompanied by beautiful melodies. After nine records, she's still going strong and proving herself a vital piece of the fabric of contemporary music.