Sunday, September 3, 2017



The ten songs on Weatherboy’s first album are a reminder that vibrant work in a pop vein can still emerge and make a substantive artistic statement. There’s no question about the bright commercial sheen surrounding these tracks, but there’s equally little question that this is a duo with ambition to burn. There are recurring lyrical themes running through the songwriting and a definite design to the running order, but Weatherboy’s debut never comes off as forced – their range comes naturally and the music moves with a natural, airy sense of purpose that keeps their melodies, vocal and otherwise, engaging. The production invests everything with a forceful sonic punch and it helps further highlight contributions from the duo’s musical partners like legendary guitarist Phil Keaggy. This unheralded giant, formerly of the band Grass Harp, contributes mightily to this collection without ever once overstating his distinctive presence.
There is a deliberate shape to the release. Weatherboy opens with two straight ahead, horn powered pop numbers “Got a Good Thing” and “Great Great Life” and there’s a commonality between the songs suggesting they are designed for their specific track list positions. The brass sound rings out in a very authentic way and makes for an excellent, if unintended, counterpoint with the powerful lead vocals. “Riding on the Wind” shows off another side of the duo as they perform a much more moody, hard-nosed musical ride. The vocals respond in kind with an appropriately darker tone and it results in one of the album’s more memorable moments. Acoustic guitar plays an important role in the songwriting on the album and “Eva”, one of the album’s more than likely underrated numbers, has qualities one might associate more with a folk song than hailing from this project. “Bennett” comes off as something practically confessional in its lyrical content and the musical arrangement is one of the album’s more inventive moments. Rosinkranz, especially, comes out of this album sounding like a true virtuoso capable of doing anything he wants to – the sheer variety of melody and texture that makes this album go will please many.
“A Bright Flame” returns the duo to more standard pop territory but the edge of your seat vocal melodies and pyrotechnics will exert an aching effect on listeners. This is reminiscent of “Bennett” in the way that the lyrics come off as very personal, but the song is delivered in such a way that the experience runs no danger of being closed off to listeners. “All Your Fault” has a lot of musical and lyrical bite, but there’s a slight sense of the duo trying to take on too much within the song’s somewhat short running time. “Full Bloom” brings the album to an end with a surprising piano ballad guided by the lyrical keys work and the bone-deep emotion coming through in every line of the vocal. It’s, arguably, one of the album’s better lyrical moments and makes for a conclusive ending to this release. It is easy to discern a progression of sorts through this release and “Full Bloom” brings it to wide-open life. 

Raymond Burris 

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