Explosive, exciting and rollicking good fun.
Label: Memphis Industries
Released: 6th October 2017
Toronto quartet Weaves found themselves wrestling with who they wanted to be on their 2016 self-titled debut. Were they Talking Heads? Were they Pixies? Were they tUnE-yArDs? Were they a mash of all three with a dash of Karen O thrown in for good measure?
The resulting concoction felt like a mess. But there was something there, something undeniably compelling - they just needed to pin it down.
With their second album, 'Wide Open', it seems like the hectic 12 months on the road has made them realise what it was that made them so interesting. Explosive, exciting and rollicking good fun, it’s a scrappy little beast that really digs its hooks into you. No-one is fighting for centre stage anymore, which allows for a much cleaner sound that gives you the space you need to just have a good time.
Lead single, and opening track, '#53' is the wonky pop they were so clearly aiming for. From that driving rhythm to the anthemic cries of, “I don’t wanna think about you again/I don’t wanna dream about you again.” It’s a cathartic and razor-sharp slice of rock.
Weaves have clearly found a knack for writing those boisterous little hooks that will have you clambering for the front. 'Grass', with its whirling guitars and a melody guaranteed to be stuck in your head for days, is full of fun. 'Slicked', meanwhile, has the glamorous strut of T. Rex taken to different level thanks to Jasmyn Burke’s mouthful-of-molasses meets Karen O vocals.
In fact, Burke has never sounded better. Even her “oohs” on 'Law and Panda' ooze a nonchalant cool and the way she rounds words like “me” and “dance” give the album that almost Americana feel.
'Wide Open', one of the few tracks where Weaves take a little breather, only cements the Americana DNA that runs through the record. It’s something they’ve joked about, but the stunningly dreamy guitars and beautifully sentimental lyrics here are classic Americana.
There are some hints of the old Weaves here, though the more focussed sound helps to pull off the weirdness a little more. “Scream” sticks out like a sore thumb, thanks in part to Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq. It’s a slow-burning, ferocious track that can either sound malevolent and exciting or just plain ridiculous depending on your mood.
'Wide Open' sees Weaves at their most energetic, focussed and fun. It’s strange to think this is the same band that, just last year, felt a bit all over the place. While tightening their scope down to the electrifying rock’n’roll that peeped through on Weaves doesn't really reinvent the wheel in the grander scheme of things, it’s led to a band that feels more confident in who they are. This confidence, in turn, has created a band that’s all about having a good time. Pretensions are out of the window; now they just want to make you dance. Chris Taylor