Being an ardent fan of the early 90s shoegaze scene (Guided by Voices, My Bloody Valentine, etc.), I was absolutely elated when I picked up the album Sports by Weekend. Part post-punk, part new-glaze, this album has proven to me that noise characterized by a generous use of distortion to the extent where simple, harmless chords decompose into torrents of shrieking static can indeed, be incredibly beautiful. I certainly know I’m not alone on this since their show at the Hemlock Tavern sold out immediately at the door.
The San Franciscan trio’s album is marked by flawless washed out vocals in the background of long drones. In comparison, the band’s live sound was significantly more rapid and driving. It lacked this droning effect and was supplemented by fast, fist-pumping tracks, which livened up their set in favor of the setting and crowd.
Minimalism is the key word in describing the aesthetics of Weekend’s sound. This translates well onto their album. While the drummer maintains a minimal yet solid, pounding beat, the momentum is pushed even further by the bassist, who milks every reverbed note in his simple rhythms. This style of simplicity is no doubt gripping and tension-building within every note. The guitar sound, aided by a generous array of effects pedals, creates the most interesting texture to their music. The band’s liberal use of distortion adds to their lo-fi aesthetics.
Their music was impeccable during their live set. However, the vocals were disappointing. This is only because the singer failed to hit a lot of the notes that sound so perfect on the record. In considering this defect, I remembered to keep in mind that with many bands, perfection lies within imperfections. Like Guided By Voices, Modest Mouse, and most other indie musicians, lo-fi or not, Weekend’s charm does not reside in their impeccable musicianship. Their charisma is a product of their idiosyncratic sound.
Weekend is currently on a European tour with 70s post-punk band, Wire. Be sure to grab of a copy of their album, as I am sure it won’t disappoint.