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Album Review / Audio: Weekends – Weekends (unsigned)

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MP3: Weekends – Cookie Salad and Buddy System

Weekends are making something I’ve been yearning for that seems in short supply. Their music is a sonicated form of optimism, refined and measured into well-sized portions ripe for enjoyment and resulting in one of the most buoyant and unapologetically rock releases I’ve put in my player since Ponytail’s Ice Cream Spiritual.

They recall some of the brightest and most celebratory elements of Ponytail, but drag it through a mud pit, obfuscating their sound with heavy helpings of scuzz, fuzz, and general distortion that would make Death from Above 1979 proud. The result of this dirt-tussle: playful, mud-soaked guitar laying down airy melodies backed by clockwork drumming. The vocals are mostly left behind, only occasionally bubbling to the surface as muted, and drowning as if submerged. The warmth of Weekends’ sound is the sonic equivalent of sunshine; as the guitars get so fuzzed out to approach drone, I hear an undeniable shared inspiration with the extraordinary Zomes.

Weekends’ music propels you, even impels you into motion. They crank out some great dance-worthy rock, eschewing the more popular indie-dance, electro and cock-rock, and opting instead for motivating jump-up and spazz-out jams. But as the album washes over me, I find another dimension in their music. In the caverns of reverb that Weekends create, I find their sound engenders a reflective streak, consisting of conversations on the nature of the universe and pre-dawn fits of dancing, trying to outlast exhaustion until daybreak. It’s an inward-looking elation that is simultaneously meditative and exuberant, fuzzy-headed yet strikingly lucid. This is likely an accurate mirror of the state of mind of Weekends when they play: much of the album is packed with one-takes and the entirety was recorded in a single practice.

“Cookie Salad and Buddy System” has a ferocious and catchy opening that is a raucous highlight of the album.  A huge contrast to opening track “No More Bands,” which stands probably as Weekends’ highest soaring track on the album, with a swift tempo driven by insistent drums and lilting guitar melodies to accompany unusually numerous vocals.  Weekends’ undoubtedly do their best work when they make a fantastic garage-y racket, tracks like “Pay Per View Dads” and “Immature Girls” that feature big soaring melodies that are only just grounded by the slightest bit of rock swagger.  ”Summer Knights” and “Bad Fad” best exhibit a balance between the more ethereal and surreal aspects and the visceral edge to their sound.

The only thing I can begrudge Weekends on this debut (and it’s not much) is the great disparity between the guitar and drum work. Drum lines pulse steadily and simply, creating a percussive-yet-propulsive din as opposed to any sort of aural texture; I’d be surprised to learn that there wasn’t a broken metronome driving the kick drum for most of the album. Effective, but only just; I suspect that will change rapidly as both members of Weekends are novice drummers. The guitar work, on the other hand, is textured and varied in tone, with riffs that are engaging both in cadence and melody.

With that as my only substantial gripe, I’ve gotta say: these are my kind of Weekends. And it looks like musically-inclined Baltimoreans have one more reason to love this town.

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6 Responses to “Album Review / Audio: Weekends – Weekends (unsigned)”

  1. Caleb says:

    great shit.
    also, people are getting behind the band like woah.

  2. Benn says:

    “unapologetically rock”

    What do you mean by this phrase? Rock has nothing to apologize for.

    Fun CD!

  3. Greg Szeto says:

    i use it in the most positive sense.

    i think in the blog-culture, a lot of people try to dilute the rock aspect of their music in order to broaden appeal whether it is by “dance” remixes or what have you that add cheesy electro effects and over-production.

    i whole-heartedly agree that rock doesn’t have to apologize or compromise to have a broad appeal.

  4. Love the track you put up! Hope to catch these guys sometime.

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