Album – Reunion Tour – The Weakerthans

Posted by admin on September 25th, 2007

The Weakerthans are a band I got into relatively late in their 10 year career, only recently reviewing their third release, “Reconstructive Site“. Now 4 years after that album was originally released, we have “Reunion Tour”. I suppose I’m lucky, as it’s only been a year since I previously discovered and reviewed their last album, but for many fans, I’m sure this album has been eagerly anticipated.

Opening with “Civil Twilight”, I had an amazing sense of excitement wash over me. It’s certainly easy to recognize as a Weakerthans record, as that sound is immediately recognizable. Part way through the opener, I had a bizarre sense of loss and then joy at rediscovering this terrific band, it’s hard to describe it any other way. Listening to “Hymn for the Medical Oddity”, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the indie powerhouse band, They Might be Giants. Certainly vocally, there are some great comparisons, but also lyrically, there’s that great humor and relaxed style. “Relative Surplus Value”, gives us something rockier to munch on and you can sense that a lot of thought has gone into the balancing of this album.

“Tournament of Hearts” stands out as one of my favorite tracks on the album, with a driving guitar and drumbeat, managing to bubble under, rather than drown out the vocals. On the flip side of that “Virtue the Cat Explains Her Departure”, whilst having an amazing title, fails to live up to it, for me, proving one of the two humdrum track on the album. The other mediocre track, is the one that follows it, “Elegy for Gump Worsley”. It’s way more Leonard Cohen (whom I actually love a lot), than what we come to expect from the Weakerthans, way too dour for my tastes. This blip in the album, is only slight and things rebound nicely with “Sun in an Empty Room”, giving pure and unadulterated Weakerthans goodness, followed closely by the excellent “Night Windows”.

“Big Foot!” leads us into the last third of the album and has a very familiar feel to it. I’m never sure if it’s deja vu, or just the Weakerthans being exceedingly good at what they do, lulling me like a muse. The title track at last, manages to deliver and not let the album down, as seems to be the case with many title tracks of late. “Utilities” ends the album with a twist and fade to black.

Conclusion : A shining example of all that’s great about the independent Canadian music scene. With many peaks and just a couple of very small troughs, make no mistake this is a cracking album. It may take the Weakerthans a while to come up with a new album, but man, when they do, it’s worth the wait.

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