Thursday, October 28

Record Review - Weekend [Sports, Slumberland Records]

by Tim Draut

San Francisco post-rock outfit Weekend establish an impressive new sound on their debut full-length “Sports.” The ambiance of the album is well crafted, but difficult to define with brilliantly its layered compositions of authoritative drums and bass, distorted guitar, toned-down vocals, and the swirling echoes of warm noise which lift the album to unlikely heights. The overall feel of the album is established right off the bat with the outstanding opener “Coma Summer,” as the hook’s “oohs” and “ahhs” are soon undercut with a wave of harsh, yet inviting distortion.

The intensity of "Sports" ranges from song to song, and even within its individual tracks. Take for instance the thrashing crescendo of “Youth Haunts” paired up against the dreary ambiance of “Monday Morning.” Although this formula of fluctuation has been somewhat of a trend this year (see acts such as Liars, No Age, even Arcade Fire to some extent), Weekend’s style is surprisingly methodical and direct. For the most part, Weekend’s brand of noise-rock manages to avoid being too jarring or abrasive, without ever really crossing over into the pop realm.

The tone of the album is understated, as it demonstrates a level of craftsmanship that never seems pretentious or forced. The lyrics are often a chore to decipher, which is ok, because that isn’t the point. This band has created an engaging, yet introspective experience, allowing listeners to absorb the album’s complex feel without having to be completely tuned in.

That being said, those who listen closely are often rewarded. The lyrics on “Monday Morning” are almost subliminal, as the mantra “I don’t wanna go to work/I don’t wanna go home” (?) barely emerges from the groggy ambiance just as the distorted guitar kicks in, continuing through the following track.

“Sports” will definitely be one of the highlights of this year’s lineup Fall album releases, with an official release dated of November 9. Until then, be sure to stream the album over at NPR’s First Listen if you haven’t already.

Pick up the record here November 9th and see them live at The Independent that same night in San Francisco.

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