It isn’t often that so many different facets of a modern pop record manage to command your fixation without bringing anything actually new to the genre. Yet, Titanic Rising, the latest effort from Weyes Blood (Natalie Mering), proves that peerless pop music doesn’t have to be entirely original. Pulling together all the timeless tropes that make resonant, enduring and powerful piano- and synth-led pop (but not for a second sounding dated or too indebted to nostalgia), Mering forges her own originality through the assemblance of impeccable, peerless pop tunes.

Titanic Rising is one of the most impressive pop records in recent years, but not merely because it’s the culmination of Mering’s years of growth as a songwriter. The sturdy foundations of 2014’s The Innocents and 2016’s Front Row Seat to Earth proved Mering apt at writing colourful chamber pop: catchy, relatable and endlessly replayable. But Titanic Rising moves well beyond that. Titled after a fictitious sequel to James Cameron’s late-Nineties romantic mega-blockbuster, and conceptually arranged around themes of cinema and the celestial, it’s a hybrid of subtle, ultra-modern production and a huge array of genre influences, from baroque and chamber pop to synth pop and new wave.

Given its extensive breadth of stylistic differentiation and enormous crop of influences, Titanic Rising’s most obvious skill lies in just how easily it all fits together, both within its songs and as a whole. There are clues in Jonathan Rado’s production, given the similar cohesion of Alex Cameron’s Forced Witness, but the record’s stature really comes from its writing. Stellar songwriting has long been the staple of every great, lasting pop song, yet the strength to which tracks like ‘Andromeda’, ‘Mirror Forever’ and ‘A Lot’s Gonna Change’ are so immaculately arranged beckons comparisons with any of the great pop masterpieces, from the seamless baroque modernity of Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love to the layered collages of the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds.

And Titanic Rising is, fundamentally, very much a pop record. It isn’t off-kilter or wildly experimental like SOPHIE or Charli XCX, nor is it as nostalgia-heavy as Carly Rae Jepson or as internationally-melded as Rosalía, but it’s easily as exceptional as any of those, if not more. Mering’s signature conversational style of songwriting and remarkably powerful, dextrous vocals don’t need hyper-futuristic beats or flagrant instrumentals to resonate; and virtually every track on here has its own identifiably outstanding niche.

The tidal serenity of ‘Andromeda’, where every beat re-submerges you in wash of gradually amassing sound, is entirely distinct from ‘Movies’, a track with an escalatory arpeggio pattern that casually wanders into orchestral minimalism territory (on a synthesiser), only to gradually reveal itself as a composed and sprawling homage to cinema. The marching, shamelessly bouncy Beach Boys charm of ‘Everyday’, complete with singalong chorus and multi-tracked harmonies, offers an entirely different charm to ‘Mirror Forever’, which starts off like something off Joy Division’s ‘Decades’ but comes into its own in a blistering final bridge.

Mering builds songs like few others can, balancing a succinct precision in her arrangements and mixing without ever seeming too calculated or inorganic. Titanic Rising is easily her best record thus far, and one of the finest pop records in recent years. An ambitious, varied and ardently rewarding listen, Titanic Rising is pop music for ages and worlds far beyond our own, and an emphatic show of prowess from one who is sure to be one of indie’s new radiant lights.