Think of Weep as an "away from basics" movement,
back to the lushness and extravagance of the 1980s, with dark layered
vocals and sweeping atmospheric synth melodies that flow together
seamlessly with guitar and drums. Magically appearing string and horn
sections stretch out into this rich and elaborate production.
Lead vocalist and guitarist Doc Hammer is possibly best known
as co-creator of the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim offering The
Venture Bros. though he has a musical pedigree that includes gothic
folk-rockers Mors Syphilitica. His words are not those of a
wide-eyed neophyte, "I've been creating music my whole life.
I keep going back because it's a challenge. Making a CD isn't easy.
It takes your heart and ego and mashes them together into a paste
that people pick up and throw back at you." But the music of
Weep isn't cynical and bitter; it's celebratory. Their sound is warmly
familiar; bands like The Psychedelic Furs, The Cure,
and New Order immediately come to mind, with glimpses of many
others from those heady new wave and goth days. They pay tribute not
with imitation, but by distilling something new out of that respectful
mix while bringing back the notion of dramatic presentation and grandeur.
On their debut album, Worn Thin, they start off densely layered,
dreamy and atmospheric, the focus on lush keyboards and Hammer's hallucinatory
harmonics. "The Time I Thought That" introduces a driving,
harder edge with a psychedelic swirl and an odd "chicken clucking"
riff that gets stuck in the head, building into a cacophony of sound.
When they drop it down to a simpler guitar-based structure for "Ever
Shy (Nov. Mix)", one is especially aware of the beauty of those
raspy vocals that give their music a thick, dreamlike texture. With
a few lyrics floating serenely to the surface, "So cover up your
eyes and stay with me, I'll let you sometimes lead the way
A seismic shift occurs for the title track, with great galloping
percussion and triumphant horns, and Doc's heavy, hypnotic vocals
underneath. We then take an Eno-esque intermission appropriately
titled "Interlude", giving Weep yet another interesting
dimension, and we're left to contemplate the idea that a band can
pay homage to the '80s without coming across as pretentious or goofy.
And with this thought, we're led into their rollicking version of
Jesus Jones' "Right Here, Right Now." This first
caused me to burst out laughing, until I realized what a damn fine
job they'd done (it was more a laugh of delight).
They end with powerful fury, in a cover of Rihanna's "Shut
Up And Drive," rescuing this cool little song from the vacuous
pop diva's clutches. Their take is kind of a 1950's style romp with
a Bauhaus sensibility.
Worn Thin in name may suggest world-weariness, but musically
it's fresh and exuberant with a wider stylistic reach than one might
initially expect. This is definitely one that grows on you with repeated
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