Whitman – Weekends

Rating: ★★★½ ·

It’s been quite a while since locals Whitman put out their debut album, Torch Songs. Since then their style hasn’t really changed too much; they’ve maintained a classic alternative sound while not getting too serious. Weekends is no exception to this style, delivering quality tunes that fall easy on the ears.

The album creeps out slowly, with Ram Vela’s vocals whispering through layers of echoes and atmospheric sounds on “Technicolor Blues.” It’s as though the band is feeling its way into your ears, analyzing the space that they are going to fill before they really kick into things. This kicks comes in the last forty or so seconds before the first song has met its completion. At this point, it’s clear that Whitman has woken up, and continues to pick up the pace on the second song, “NW Thurman.” Jumping right into things, Vela’s Ted Leo-esque raspy chords leads you right along, bounding atop bouncing piano and some “Ooh la la’s” in the background. Immediately on this track, there is that ‘good times’ mentality that this band perfects. It’s the perfect kind of song to bob your head easily along to and perhaps dance a little if you’re feeling up to it—it doesn’t demand anything.

This easy rock-n-roll continues through the duration of the album, exploring highs and lows, crazy times and falling-outs. “Barstools” comes across as a bitter recollection of a friendship gone astray. As Vela sings honestly that he would “rather be falling off barstools than hanging with you,” the electric guitar growls, the cymbals crash violently, and some synth all rage along with him, and it feels as though the song consists entirely for the purpose of driving this hated friend away, making sure he knows he isn’t welcome anymore.  Later on, Whitman slows things down a bit on “Manchester-By-The-Sea,” whose soft nature serves as a nice little meander from the consistent full-tilt pace. This song relies on a gentler strumming of acoustic guitar and instrumentals that stray from the buzz of before and we see a more delicate Whitman. The album finishes up with “Day Drink Part 1” and “Day Drink Part 2” which brings things back up before it reaches its conclusion.

Weekends is exactly what its name entails: relaxation. There simply isn’t a song on here that requires more than a good attitude to enjoy. With the weather warming up around here, count on this album to be perfect for blasting out of your open car windows.

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