BY BARRY ST. VITUS
All we really ask for is for that our music be finely crafted from the choicest notes and chords, and to bring enjoyment from repeated listens. Happily, no worries here. Purling Hiss, and front-man Mike Polizze, has propelled the evolution of his basic DIY solo roots, into a three-piece rock combo, and again into the frantic, manic and just downright catchy effort that is Weirdon. I couldn’t help but picture a time-lapse film of back when it was just him and his tape recorder, up to right now, being similar to watching a basic naked Chia Pet ceramic; next being slathered in wet seeds; and finally bursting into full, hairy bloom.
Engrossing from the first hearing, it doesn’t disappoint, and brings to mind pleasant memories and comforting familiarity of the indie-rock and punk bands that emerged in the ‘90’s, on myriads of small labels. There was an obvious, and gleeful effort to push forward into newer territory, adding many tasty layers of complexity to the music, and spicing things up with some vocal effects and distortion. Frankly, my brain almost short-circuited trying to pinpoint all of the many bands that these 11 songs reminded me of.
Polizze wrote the tunes, filled in a lot of the groundwork on electric and acoustic guitars, piano, drums, etc. and then the other 2/3rds, Kiel Everette and Ben Leaphart, jump in on guitar and drums to fill in the rest. The end result being a bash of slamming guitars, along with engaging production work, igniting this power pop-punk slammer. So, to recap, this maneuver took them from last year’s hard rock effort, Water On Mars, to this deft excursion, with all it’s multifariousness in composition and execution. The songs that rock the hardest don’t quite achieve ‘hardcore’ intensity, but do cross the punk threshold with room to spare.
“Forcefield of Solitude” smartly launches A-side with anthemic authority, and impressions of Dinosaur Jr. and the Mendoza Line. Stepping up the classic punk a notch with “Sundance Saloon Boogie,” teases with a heady mix of perhaps Minor Threats’ “Cashing In,” mixed with a little Descendents likeability, and stressing ‘no more lies.’ “Learning Slowly’ dishes out some Replacements-like melodic punk sprinkled with ‘50’s classic R & R riffs, growling bass and intermingled guitars roaring together, making for a good ear bashing. Coming up, there’s the slower paced and moody “Another Silvermoon,” coming across as something by the Muslims/Slow Pack. Then, there’s the swinging bludgeon of “Where’s Sweetboy.”
Other snazzy tunes include “Aging Faces,” “I Don’t Want To Be A…” and especially “Airwaves,” a clever and infectious pop-punk tune likely to become a well-lodged earworm.
All said and done, thumbs up on Polizze’s songwriting, the trio’s playing, as well as production work on Weirdon, all together categorically highlighting this comment on their PR sheet, ‘Weirdon is a rainbow of a record.’
I’ll nail this one up on the wall along with the other few favorite albums I’ve heard this year, but then, it’s been a really weird year.
DOWNLOAD: “Sundance Saloon Boogie,” “Where’s Sweetboy,” “Learning Slowly”