Review Summary: An understated gem.
For what its worth, in the time between A Weather’s delicate debut Cove
and this, their more distortion friendly follow-up; they’ve improved immensely. Taking the same basic form of song structure; or slow to mid-tempo instrumentation, down turned melodies, intimate lyrics delivered though boy-girl whispers, and transferred them from a predominantly acoustic to a fuller electric sound. While there was much to be said for the personal nature of their softer music, this new foray into plugging-in
is nothing but an advantageous move for them.
is by no means a grand escape or an abrupt turn in their sound, and to be fair its not like A Weather have not used electric guitars before, its more so how they’re using them now. Preferring distorted bridges and epic reverb washed freakouts they certainly abuse their instruments more so than they did with Cove‘s
few electric flourishes. Though the music still moves at a slower pace, with an apparent, an usually infectious ebb and flow, Everyday Balloons
outplays itsself. The constant beat of the track list keeping the album moving and the music interesting. Its strange really, because on paper, nothing much has changed here, its still soft pop music, its still well written (albeit a couple goofy lines pop up, but whatever), its just not acoustic
. Fundamentally, harping on the whole going electric thing
gets you no where when concerning this album. Because at the end of its run time, once you’ve been past “Winded’s” rag-time piano, “Seven Blanket’s” wall of (soft")reverb; when you’ve moseyed on past “Fond’s” acoustic strums and heart beat rhythm, all the way to epic fuzzy closer “Lay Me Down” you’ll find that in reality these are just better songs. It suddenly doesn’t become a question of “if the band has made a successful move over"”
as much as “how well have they constructed this album"”
Answer: very well.
Which is good considering Everyday Balloons
is about 52 minutes long, but the album never gets hampered down by its run time, unlike their front loaded debut. The album’s second half, in truth, is actually better than the first portion, basically once you hit “No Big Hope” is just gets stronger from there. The slow pacing and inherent tension are only amplified by the whispers and coos of Aaron Gerber and Sarah Handley Windchester, who have improved exponentially on this LP. To say the two were haphazard on Cove
would be an understatement, in fact their lackadaisical take on their vocal performances is one of the things that attributed to that album’s magic, but however, it is nice to have them actually use their voices this time. They’re still mixed to a hush sure, but they balance their melodies better and harmonize to great affect, successfully bouncing off one another or interchanging turns of phrase superbly.
Self described as sounding “like what stuffed animals would tell you if they’d had a few too many,” which by all accounts is a true statement. But not so much in the sense that they sound delicate, or soft with a bit of a saucy edge, more so that their lyrical content is biting, and prolific almost in its despair, but still innocent, sweet. A Weather are not rock stars, hell they don’t even seem like they take many physical risks, let alone berate you with tales of excess or grandiose musical ambitions. They are, for lack of a better cliché, every day men and women. Their music deals with issues concerning them, divorce (“Giant Stairs” & “Happiness”), death (“Fond”), finding solace in your loneliness (“Seven Blankets”) but its just this aspect of their music that makes it so appealing. They’re little more than a pop band, and if you want to get more specific, bedroom pop, but with Everyday Balloons
they’re still making a strong case for themselves in modern “indie rock” as people who can do it without all the stage numbers and studio tricks. But hey, sometimes all you need is a few guitars, a drum set, maybe a piano, and whole lot of heart -- its nice to see someone still trying “the old way” and succeeding to the fullest.