Oh Jenny is available via:
The album, Get What You Came For, can be heard here:
17th February, 2018
IT has been a bit since I looked at…
a band and investigated that side of music. I will come to Weekend Recovery in a minute but, before then, I wanted to look at a few things. Garage-Rock and its mutation is high on my mind; I will talk about Leeds and artists in Yorkshire; bands who go away from the mainstream and produce something lo-fi yet popular; getting the ear of big sources and how important that can be at the start of the career; where music might be headed this year – and how Weekend Recovery will go in the future. I have been thinking about Garage-Rock and how the genre does not really have a lot of representation in the present time. I guess Weekend Recovery mix in some Punk but, if you look at their influences, the likes of The White Stripes are in the mix. I am seeing more and more female-fronted bands come through and this gives me strength. We are still being buried in all-male bands and, when it comes to festivals, that seems to be the main commodity. It is a dependence we need to get out but, with bands like Weekend Recovery; it is providing range and new colour to music. I am excited seeing how music changes this year and what comes to the fore. Solo artists are being tipped but there is hope bands will have some say and make some headway. The past few years have been solo-heavy: bands have not really crafted anything unifying and overly-original. In the underground; there are some wonderful bands coming through but, in my mind, there are few that really rival the best solo acts. Why is this, then?! I feel there is an issue coming from the mainstream – I am wandering a little off course, I realise. There is still that need for big Rock bands and those who can fill stadiums.
Maybe it has been a long time since we saw anyone as massive as Oasis in music: modern bands are a different beast and few have the same ability and swagger as them. Bands, today, are bringing in other genres and taking music in a different direction: there are Alternative/Rock bands but few have the same genius and ability as the departed Manchester band. Critics are not really encouraging those artists who go beyond the expected and foster something deep. There are some wonderful artists in the mainstream but I am seeing few who splice Rock, Punk and Garage together – music that fills the heart, brain and lungs. The new breed is doing that much better: Weekend Recovery are among the most assured and appealing of the pack. New artists are keen to keep genres like Garage and Punk alive. The reason I am excited about Weekend Recovery is that they mix elements of legends like Oasis and The White Stripes. Garage artists like The White Stripes created some of the greatest music of the past couple of decades and perfected that under-produced, raw sound. Many artists – in the underground – are doing that but I have been searching for a band that mix the magic of The White Stripes (and their peers from Detroit) and bigger British bands. The guys have all grown up on classic Garage/Punk bands and those huge, anthemic British bands of the 1990s. My hope is bands assume a bigger role in 2018 and, in years to come, can show the same influence and dominance as they did in the 1990s. That might not happen if we rely on the mainstream alone. The new breed is the ones we should be looking out for, it seems. There are some terrific Pop and Indie bands – who are intelligent and inventive – but a part of me wants that energetic and exciting thrill; groups that make me think of past glories and acts – keeping my mind in the present and what is to come.
PHOTO CREDIT: Dave Heritage
Among the aspiring Garage and Punk bands is Weekend Recovery. Maybe they cannot reproduce the same sort of brilliance and angles as The White Stripes. The reason I keep mentioning them is because the Leeds outfit has that same spirit and confidence; they put some Blues and Rock into the blend; there is a lot going on that inspires the body to move and the senses to spike. It is no surprise a Yorkshire band should come to my mind. The county has always produced sensational music that differs from the norm and keeps older genres alive. I have heard Electro-Swing and Hokum in Leeds; 1980s Pop and Alternative-Rock. It is a busy city and part of a county that keeps on amazing and progressing. Strangely, it is the way Yorkshire artists look to the past that keeps music looking forward. I hinted how there are great bands around but there is a missing ingredient: something that may, oddly, be in Yorkshire. So many new bands are concerned with fitting into a certain mould and following the pack. One of the ways bands will have a bigger say, and development will be seen, is to think outside the box and take bold steps. Yorkshire is a county without fear; one that does things their own way and channels a unique spirit. Leeds is the centre of all of that candour, energy and motivation. I have always loved the city and feel the artists here are among the best in new music. The North does not get the credit it deserves: we still look to London and the South for bands and the best new acts around. I am not suggesting Yorkshire, along, can kick-start a revival and spawn the new generation of heroes: what I am saying is the county warrants more eyes and acclaim.
PHOTO CREDIT: Tim Wilson
Maybe it is the way of life there; the personalities and ethos of the people – something in the air means the creators and creatives go beyond the ordinary and sip from a different well. Leeds is a wonderful city bursting with hungry artists and strange minds. Weekend Recovery, and that great name, have made strides and are putting the county on the map. Yorkshire has always been there but I feel, with the advent and rise of solo artists; it is going to be harder for the county to gain the legacy and acclaim it deserves. Weekend Recovery have their heart and spirits in the current but have a love and fondness for the past and its wonderful music. Their music is fantastic and takes my mind back to when I started falling for music. Everyone looks for something different in music. For me; I want a combination of unexpected motions and embers of the past. That is hard to concoct – but there are some artists that do that. Many join sounds together lazily; others have some promise but cannot sustain that. I feel Weekend Recovery have all the ingredients and fabrics to ensure they remain and inspire. I am not surprised to see Yorkshire produce a band like this. Their new album, which I shall mention later, contains frustration and songs about modern life; fire and spunky vocals with great riffs and relevant lyrics. I shall move on in a minute but, to end this part; a final nod to Yorkshire and why its artists are so important. There is an originality and passion that strays from the cliché and mainstream. They push boundaries and tackle new realms; they move past the worn and do something genuinely new. Weekend Recovery are another example of this. They are a superb quartet who, I think, will make some big waves in years to come.
Before I come to look at a song from their album, Get What You Came For; a talk about sounds that go low and have that undercooked aesthetic. I am not saying the music of Weekend Recovery is lacking any polish and spit but, when listening to the music, you get a sense this band want to keep their music alive and alert. I mentioned The White Stripes – and shall not bring them back too often! – but the Detroit duo were masterful when it came to the eight-track-sounding songs that packed a punch and sounded wonderfully direct. Weekend Recovery project themes of dislocation and anger in a very genuine and unpretentious way. I keep saying that word, ‘genuine’, but that is a commodity lacking in music. There is so much fakery around and plastic sounds. Artists, for one reason or the other, are not doing anything new and seem determined to get streaming figures up – rather than hit the heart and break rules. That does not apply to everyone: there are a lot of artists who understand music lovers want sounds that do something special and unexpected. Weekend Recovery put me in mind of the 1990s’ Garage rise and the great British Rock of that time. I get hints of Punk from the 1970s and modern Alternative. There is a bit of polish in the music but, above all, there is that meaty and sweat-filled sound that bursts from every note. I am interested seeing how the band progress but, as they say, they are producing their most assured and mature sounds to date. This maturity does not indicate a dampening and distillation of their primal energy. What we can hear in their album is the same brilliance as before but, this time, there is depth and nuance that was lacking.
Those musicians who forgo the shine of the modern studio are to be congratulated. Weekend Recovery have a great live-sounding dynamic and that means the material can easily translate to the stage. It is wonderful hearing artists who can put onto tape music that does something physical and evocative. Maybe my words are not forming as eloquently as they could be: the firepower and brilliance Weekend Recovery put out gets one rather excited! There is nothing to suggest they will be here for a short time. It is a competitive and busy market out there, for sure. So many artists are competing and doing their own thing. Maybe it is the fact they are from Leeds; perhaps it is the artists they were brought up on – there is something that takes them above and beyond what one normally expects. The guys have won some important ears - so it shows their music is striking the right chords. I have seen some big Rock bands come and go; there have been Garage artists who have remained for a short time – none that have really endured and made that much of an impact. The fact Radio X and BBC Introducing have noted Weekend Recovery’s strength and promise tells you all you need to know. The band is picking up acclaim which, in turn, is giving them confidence and feeding into their sounds. It is great seeing artists get acclaim and putting that on their social media feeds. It shows pride and how much great predictions means to them. It is important to recognise why people rate your music and why it means a lot to them. Reviews and plaudits alone cannot make you or ensure a long and fruitful career: it shows there is a lot of love out there and people are supporting you. The reason I wanted to raise the subject of critical acclaim and support is how (because) we need to start supporting those bands that have the promise to remain.
I have talked about how bands have seen declining stock; their wonder and appeal is not as strong as it was years ago. Every time I encounter a band that has a list of high-profile sources in their corner; it lets me think they have the promise to remain in music and change the game. One cannot underestimate and ignore areas like Radio X and BBC Introducing and what their kudos proves. Weekend Recovery are turning heads and, with every listen, getting stronger and more assured. I hope the Leeds band continue to record albums and keep their spirits high. Get What You Came For is a wonderful album that is already picking up positive reviews and support – despite the fact it is released today. The band will get more respect and attention the next few days: it is going to be a busy and productive year for them. They have a release-show in Camden later – Camden Rocks Presents, in fact. It is a gig that will bring their new sounds to the capital; it will get them fresh support and add to that tally of impassioned praise. The band have played in big London venues and gained local support in Yorkshire. I will end the review by predicting where they will go and how far they can reach. The acclaim accrued so far means people recognise the brilliance of the band and the fact they are doing something new. Everything they do goes beyond the predictable and tired. 2018 will be the best year for the Yorkshire band to date. Not only is an album out; they will play some big shows and, as festivals start; that gives them the opportunity to get to large crowds and bring their explosive music to the masses. I will end things here but I hope I have managed to represent all the best sides and facets of Weekend Recovery. They are working in a busy market and will take a few more years before they reach the mainstream. Right now, things are heading in the right direction and people are reacting.
The opening has spirit and step but does not get too carried away. It is a rousing and punchy beginning that gets the feet moving and the fists tightened. Oh Jenny has that acceleration and energy but never explodes or gets too far ahead of itself. The band show how tight they are from the very first notes. Lori steps up to the microphone and gets her words out. Whether she is speaking about herself or another figure; subjects of loneliness and being left aside are in there. She asks – a subject or us – whether you have been left alone and know that feeling. I can hear the emotion crack in the vocal; the urgent need for answers and a demand for answers. The heroine does not mind if she is sitting (with the heroine) or miles apart – something oblique and mysterious comes out. The chorus bursts and there is a definite chant. The heroine questions Jenny and asks what she is doing; pointing a figure and giving her a dressing down. Maybe Jenny is a subject who has alienated her friends and lost her edge; maybe she has burnt bridges and is calling people out. It is hard to see whether the subject is a once-popular idol who has fallen from grace – or a cursed human that has caused damage and problems for the heroine. It is interesting speculating as the words pour out. The chorus, as said, is a big and emphatic thing. The guitars, bass and drums bristle and slam; the vocals get more active and spirited – a primed and ready charge that gets right under the skin! The band have always been great at crafting great choruses and instant hooks: this comes through emphatically in a song like Oh Jenny. Some of the words get buried in the mix – it can be difficult hearing some of what is being sung. It is not a surprise to hear that considering how uncluttered the production is. In order to project that Punk/Garage mood; the production and recording is fairly basic.
It is not really a problem some of the words get buried and overlooked: the sensation and energy override any issues with clarity and decipherability. There is death behind the eyes and a sense of patronisation. It seems Jenny is a figure that does not really care for anyone and seems to have a problem with the heroine. She has an agenda and is only looking out for herself. The anger from Lori suggests she has endured a lot of crap from Jenny. The vocals get bolder and striking towards the end. They come to the fore and are sharpened as the words reign and register. The band thrashes and creates a fantastic sound behind their lead. The ill-fated and accused subject is being labelled, poked and levelled. What strikes me is how the song manages to mutate and change directions without losing focus. The vocal comes from an under-produced background to an up-front thing; the composition changes course and the lyrics shift slightly. It all hangs together brilliant and the band never lose their step along the way! Few have the confidence and ability to create a song that covers so much ground and gets straight into the heart. It is less than three minutes in length yet creates a huge hit and stays in the mind. One can hear shades of singers like Chrissie Hynde and the legends of old – there is freshness and originality in there, too. Other tracks on Get What You Came For have a similar tune but, to my mind, do not have quite the same brilliance. Oh Jenny stands aside because it mixes the personal with universal. We all know a person who puts themselves first and does not really care for anybody else. If you have not heard Weekend Recovery and what they are all about – Oh Jenny is a brilliant start and perfect encapsulation of what they are all about.
Get What You Came For is out and, whilst I have not reviewed the entire album; it is a work that needs to be heard and celebrated. The ten-track record is a sumptuous and busy collection of songs that takes in various themes and inspirations. There is an abiding sense of anger and need for change. Songs like Why Don’t You Love Me? and Turn It Up are among the most urgent and instant songs the band have come up with. I wanted to concentrate on Oh Jenny because it struck me hardest and brings together all the strands and sides of Weekend Recovery. It is brilliant finding a band who can put together a tight artist that has so much passion and difference. There is that single, concrete sound: songs do not remain rigid and stick on the same course. Themes differ and there are fascinating little angles in each cut. The band's performances are uniformly excellent and professional. The production allows the raw Garage-Rock sound to mix with something a little bigger and bolder. What you get in Get What You Came For is a band vibing and creating some of their finest material. I wonder where they can head from here?! They play London today but, going forward, there is a lot of potential for the Leeds group. The country is huge and there are so many great venues they could play. I wonder how many of Leeds’ established spots they have already charmed. They could head to Sheffield and York; play over in Doncaster; get themselves to Wakefield and Bradford. I feel the North is a market that more artists should take advantage of. I feel Weekend Recovery could do well in Manchester and enjoy some success over there. The guys have a sound that could do really well over there. That will be in the minds of the band but, as they launch their new L.P.; many ears and eyes will come their way. I hope there are more London dates among their plans – so I can see them play and see what the fuss is all about.
I will end this by urging people to seek out and investigate Get What You Came For and get involved with every song. There are few that have the same power and potency as the Leeds band – many others band could learn from them. It is a packed and loud music scene where it can be hard to stand out and get your stuff heard. I have every faith Weekend Recovery will cure the hangover in music and ensure bands get more of a say. I am glad solo artists are finding favour but, for the past few years; there have been fewer standing out and remaining in the memory. I feel the new breed is the most promising when it comes to long-term success and invention. It has been a long time since I have really got behind the band market and seen something fresh. Newcomers like The Orielles are sparring with established greats like Field Music – there are plenty out there that give me reason for hope and excitement. There is still the reliance on solo acts, and so, it is wonderful Weekend Recovery are making strides. Get What You Came For shows the Yorkshire clan are on a mission right now. It has been a while, also, since Garage-Rock and Punk has got into my thoughts. There are some brilliant newcomers around but, for the most part, Rock and Alternative are favoured. Get involved with Weekend Recovery and take a listen to their new album. Try and see them play and understand why some huge names are throwing their weight behind them. In a year where the best solo artists will get most of the focus: celebrating wonderful new bands is really important. The intrepid and incredible Yorkshire band will be a familiar and stadium-ready proposition…
BEFORE too long.
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