Album Review: Weekend - Jinx

San Francisco garage rock band Weekend have been doing some serious growth over the last couple years. On their 2010 debut Sports, Weekend gave us an enjoyable, noisy introduction that put them in tune with the scene and its direction. Now, with a couple years under their belt and a fresh batch of songs out the door, Weekend return with anything but a sophomore slump. Their Disco Inferno-esque “Teal Kia” from Adult Swim’s Garage Swim mix got our mouths watering, but now we have a new full length chalk full of greatness we can now happily expect from Weekend. Jinx, out this week on Slumberland Records, is a diverse collection of noisy indie rock genius that compliments this year’s fantastic releases from Beach Fossils and Savages and manages to add something completely on its own accord. Weekend have outdone themselves with this one, and I for one am thrilled to see where this outfit goes in the coming years.

From the top of Jinx, we are presented with a cast of ghosts. “Mirror” begins with two minutes of instrumental glory, and not altogether unlike UK post-punk newcomers Savages, Weekend wear love for their predecessors on their sleeves. The post-punk groove therein is a lovely time warp back to the late 80s, where we saw the noisy post-punk gods like Jesus and Mary Chain begin the changing of the guard with the glorious birth of mid 80s shoegaze. Mixing Isn’t Anything era My Bloody Valentine with the Cure’s Disintegration, Weekend hit us with equal parts electricity and beauty. Shaun Durkin’s cool, controlled vocals add another ambient layer to the effect, but aren’t the end all on the track. On Jinx, Weekend are all about the aesthetic, and the one that they’ve managed to create here is delightful.

After the winding, powerful introduction of “Mirror” comes “July”, a track that is in many ways the opposite. As a brutal post-punk track drives forward in the background and watery guitars scream across the horizon, Durkin sounds eerily similar to an I.R.S. era Michael Stipe. But soaked into the scene with enough reverb to sink a ship, his unique layer to the track acts as a haunting muse rather than a commanding leader. On “Oubliette”, the driving forces continue in a more poppy setting, as bright guitars seasoned with distortion bloom into one of the best hooks of the year.

Weekend carefully navigate around the edge of the 80s in a really fun way. Jinx never feels stuck in a different era – this cannot be said about many of the post-punk throwback records released earlier this year. Even on “It’s Alright”, the track most blatantly influenced by early My Bloody Valentine, the placement on the album and the brevity (it’s the shortest track on the record) make it a breath and a reprieve rather than a true statement. Jinx is an emotionally heavy record, and “It’s Alright” takes a short aside from this dark, weighty energy to slap you in the face with an infinite supply of bright, sugary shoegaze glory. Then with “Rosaries”, they quickly turn back to the dark road ahead, pounding forward ever more.

There’s a lot of great energy on Jinx, and it’d be a shame to spoil it by trying to spell it out track by track. Sports was fine and dandy, but with Jinx, Weekend have really come into their own and made something worthy of defining the scene’s direction by. 2013 is seeing a great return to the raw energy that post-punk brought to the table. A decade ago, we saw indie bands borrowing the sound, but today, bands are returning to the sound to find what raw elements might have been left behind. In mining their record collections, Weekend have found a delightful set of sounds and aesthetics to use from this point forward, and I hope to god they continue to. If Jinx is a sign of what is to come from these guys, you’d better keep your eye out.

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