This first full length release from Bristol’s Weatherstate is slightly deceptive, as the band have been actively releasing and touring their music for over three years. They are a band within an ever-growing, ever developing UK pop punk scene and up until this release have a reputation for pushing the boundaries.
Within the opening moments of the album opener Ghost there are signs that Weatherstate are a band whose musicianship is the focal point of their musical creativity, the moment of swirling feedback has a very Stooges vibe. Like a shot the trademark Epifat machine gun snare comes in and the track instantly moves into peak pop punk territory, with drums driving the song in and out of guitar breaks and infectious harmonised choruses. If this opening track is a statement of intent, the dark lyrical theme and obvious future singalong “send my condolences to god” pushes the band outside the pop punk formula of girls and summer.
As the release progresses towards the midpoint there are already some clever nods towards the history of punk rock. Brain Dead has the power pop prowess of early Green Day and the drumming to match. There is an early noughties charm to the crashing guitars of Barely Human, before the vocal takes Tobi Duncan of Trash Boat’s melodic anger and combines it with yet more tight harmonies. The raw skate punk pace of Rotten Lungs leads the release towards Gnarwolves and Hard Girls and is followed by the opposing Arteries, which coincidentally sounds a bit like The Arteries until a fuzzy guitar line takes it back towards Gnarwolves. These musical nods are at times polar opposites, but through clever musicianship flow effortlessly in and out of each other.
Crushing guitar lines are a clever device the band uses to carry almost every track further, after touring with The Dirty Nil it is hardly a surprise they have developed their riffs. These guitar lines swap between twee powerpop guitar solos and heavy chugging blows within the blink of an eye, without ever sounding out of place through a mixture of huge vocal range and exceptional drumming. Behind these clever guitar lines hide basslines that tie everything together, on Emma-Lynn the Pixies-esque bassline perfectly combines with a chorus Weezer would be happy with.
As the album approaches its grand climax there are moments where the musical themes begin to tire slightly, things seem to slow down and lose a little momentum. There are songs that seem to lose their way after some incredible intros but then the album closes with Cynic, an introspective slice of snotty punk with hooks that deserve an audience’s vocal. This building track has hints of the melodic Great Cynics before the explosive ending fires the band straight back to classic Epifat.
This is an album that offers a lot, the song writing and musicianship are clever and current. Lyrically this is an open and honest dialogue which always heads straight in to infectious hooks and choruses, vocally the range is stunning and the harmonies are executed perfectly. The musicianship shows a lot of development or maybe just a huge collection of influences, but covers so many genres and very specific stylistic notes. The single negative is the couple of songs that follow too similar a path from previous tracks on the release, none of these are bad songs they just seem to lose a little steam.
These songs are made to be played live, and a room full of smiling faces singing along will be the true marker of this solid debut.
Standout Tracks: Ghost, Cynic, Arteries
For Fans Of: Gnarwolves, Green Day, early-Trash Boat
Written by: Ben Adsett