Toronto based indie-rockers Weaves may be new to the scene, but are already making a name for themselves as one of the most inventive indie bands out there. Last year they dropped their excellent self-titled debut, Morgan Waters’ guitar wizardry and the powerful twang of Jasmyn Burke’s vocals being a particular highlight. At once the band created a sound which was quintessentially Weaves but simultaneously unique and continuously evolving. Last week the band released their second album, Wide Open, which (while not living up to the energy of their first) is still brimming with the candyfloss euphoria and alt-punk fierceness that made Weaves so memorable.
As with their debut, the opening three tracks are some of the best on the album, providing an explosion of energy before the mid-album lull and an inevitable manic reprisal to close. The album doesn’t stick to this formula entirely: La La is a welcome burst amongst two of the album’s most carefree tracks (Walkaway and the titular Wide Open) and closer Puddle begins with the band dabbling in folk, before erupting with distorted guitars and Latin-inspired tom-work by drummer Spencer Cole. Rather than transcending genre, Weaves instead seem to exist as a separate entity who enter and leave different styles as they please seamlessly. Wide Open is host to power-pop, folk, hard rock, electro-grunge and avant-garde fusion, just to name a few. The band remind me of shapeshifting clown Pennywise from Stephen King’s It, however instead of a creature that enters our plane of existence to eat children, Weaves materialise to release an album of bangers. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait 27 years for the next one!
Weaves are known for their energy, quirkiness and bat-shit crazy guitar leads. Their debut was nothing less than inspiringly zealous. Every band should aspire to the levels of vitality that Weaves put into their debut. I’m serious. I’m sick of lazy bands cranking out a half-finished album where clearly no effort has been put in. Worse still when they simply copy the previous album. I’m looking at you, Royal Blood. Anyway, in short Wide Open does not recreate the raw energy that Weaves managed to perfect. This isn’t to say that the album is lacking in energy – far from it. Slicked, Law and Panda, La La, Scream and Puddle all include moments of euphoria. At risk of sounding crude, the chorus to Slicked is nigh on orgasmic, and the drum solo in La La is similarly invigorating. Sadly, this energy is not album wide, as it was on Weaves.
I’m still not sure what Motherfucker is really achieving by being on the album. I don’t want to be mean, but this track has no musical or cultural value and never will. Maybe I’m just not “woke” enough, but repeatedly saying “motherfucker” over and over again just doesn’t do it for me. Grass is a so power-pop Brendan Benson could’ve written it. Add some harmonies and hell, even Jellyfish could’ve written it. I like the track but Weaves excel when they’re being quirky and Grass seems a bit on the safe side. If you want Weaves’ indie-power-pop done right, listen to Buttercup. That song is fucking incredible.
Wide Open builds upon Weaves’ debut well, yet lacks the excitement and energy that was so prominent in their first. Nevertheless, the album is still incredibly enjoyable and worth a listen – Weaves’ entire discography is free to listen to on Bandcamp. And all the other streaming shit I guess. Start with Birds and Bees, Buttercup and Candy. Actually, scrap that: listen to everything.
By Luke Binstead