Thursday, December 15, 2005

Pseudoscientific


Download: The Weather Machines -- "Last Stop"
Download: The Weather Machines -- "Modern Text On Love"

As you may or may not know, I am a power-pop fiend. About 10 of the Top 25 songs on my iPod are Teenage Fanclub songs. The handclaps, the harmonies, the hooks: it all kills me. The Big Star star is the only tattoo I've ever seriously considered putting on some part of my hithertofore unenhanced skin. I could go on and on about this stuff, but I'm not feeling particularly philosophical today.

Imagine my surprise when the Weather Machines' new LP, The Sounds of Pseudoscience, rolled into my office. A band from Rapid City, South Dakota? I saw National Lampooon's European Vacation at a theater in downtown Rapid City (they were also showing Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome) whilst on a family vacation to the Black Hills. The South Dakota music scence doesn't get a lot of press, so I had no idea what to expect. The album's cover and title didn't really scream "hooks galore" to me. I guess the word "science" threw me off somewhat. I anticipated some sort of Devo-esque outfit.

What I got was "hooks galore," both melodic and rhythmic. Jason Ward of the Weather Machines has an exceptional grasp on the use of rhythm and space as a way to create a pop hook (think the Breeders' "Cannonball" or the Kinks' "I Need You" for further great examples of this) or, heck, a whole song. There are a lot of influences at play here, but thankfully they're hard to peg...I detect wisps of Elvis Costello and Big Star, but the Weather Machines never descend into mimicry, which is a refreshing change for the genre.

I'll leave you with Six Eyes' 8 out of 10 review of the album (it says it a lot better than I could):

This is power pop crisply executed. There is no messing around, these twelve short tracks are all meaty hooks and shiny barbs. Following the opening nugget, "Modern Text On Love" [whose opening guitar riff recalls XTC], you'd expect a young band to slide into average, maudlin territory, but no... these musicians bear down and deliver lead singer Jason Ward's songs with a consistent energy matching the songs surprising quality. Bringing to mind bands like Ted Leo, XTC, The Strokes, and 'eternally missing in action' The La's -- this is power pop with impeccable pedigree and deep roots. Recommended.

Another harmonic post from the Beach Boys-wannabes at Team Clermont.

4 comments:

Lei McG said...

Hi! Thanks so much for the comment regarding Ian Love.

Team Clermont Lucas said...

No problem.

Brandon Taj Hanick said...

When I first heard this album I figured that The Weather Machines reside in NYC. They're too hip to be from North Middle America, right? I don't know. Maybe true inventiveness is born only in the more remote locations.

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