Review Summary: i need a heavy heart
American Weekend is about as minimalist a folk record as possible. For the most part the songs are 3 or occasionally 4 chords strummed with strictly no in-betweeny upstrums or any fancy wank like that and tend to follow the basic structure of intro chords then a melody then those chords again then the same melody and the chords and so forth maybe there's a chorus or a different bit or a middly section where the vocals go a bit higher in pitch to the rest of the song and it serves as a kind of quiet cathartic release to the listener who's probably either asleep or crying depending on their disposition. The album is recorded into I think a telephone stuck in a jar of almonds (known for their tendency to append spring reverb) and in terms of instrumentation rarely deviates from acoustic guitar/vocals except notably on the last song Noccalula which is some bitchin ass out of tune piano/vocals and Be Good which has a tambourine. It recalls the early boom-box recorded Mountain Goats records in which the point was either purity or necessity and nothing distracted from the lyrical content, the same applies to this record so much that if it weren't for some of the catchiest and prettiest melodies this side of Elliott Smith not a whole lot would be lost if it were released as a dramatic spoken word recording or a book of poetry or a blog post and I'm exaggerating a little but really.
The most affecting line for me comes in the aforementioned Noccalula, "I need a heavy heart, Allison's only calling me when her life's falling apart, so I pour it tall and talk to myself in my head alone. But it's really better until I learn how to gracefully let someone in and back out, but I won't worry about it right now," in which the narrator describes a sort of dependant/debilitating blahs that runs through the whole album nearly thematically, sung in a no-frills apathetic sincerity, subtly underplayed and simple, you'd be forgiven if you listened to this record a thousand times and felt nothing. And sometimes you feel nothing. You're allowed to, it's fine. There's a unique comfort in this record for the anhedonic and persistently sadsack. For the insufferably happy the melodies are nice and it's quite pleasant to nap to (in a good way).
The main talking point for this record seems to be the lo-fi recording aesthetic which is fine because it's the first thing you notice, it's warm and fuzzy and sounds bad in a nice way that's trendy right now but that's not what this album is though; it's purely the inside of someone, the true parts, the parts that matter to a person. It's punk rock and it's beautiful and it's kept me company for the better part of a year and that's all anyone should really ask for in a record so 5/5