Review Summary: Warm me up, darling.
I rustle in my blankets, drowse tugging my eyes closed again. But that’s not before comprehending my surroundings, just awake enough to know I’ll remember this next morning: My hair’s damp with just a bit of sweat. Breath wisps down the back of my neck. A hand rubs the small of my back. Slotted in bed with a loved one, the world seems fuzzy and cuddly but so uncertain
. Comfort and warmth keep anxiety from constricting my throat, but that won’t hold throughout the day. That’s Reunion Tour
At a brief skim, my emotions don’t add up. Rarely do I ever leave a punk album with a sense of comfort, fluff, and comfort. In fact, usually, I like fast and catchy tunes with witty lines that throw me in for a laugh. A more analytical review would find the Weakerthans presiding over an intersection of rock, jazz, and punk, but the genre doesn’t matter. Certainly, not to me. Relatively fast guitar work mixes with a melancholic drawl to concoct music that makes the hair stand up on my arms, legs, and hips.
The songs don’t complete the narratives. They’re bits and pieces started in media res and finished somewhere else along the trail but never the end. Maybe it takes place as “as December tries to disassemble the length of their working day.” Or it could begin right at “the airport, 7AM.” It could “follow familiar streets” or in a taxi, where the driver wakes me up. I might miss someone. Perhaps, I just admire the morning light hang in from my basement window.
The words individually might not make a lot of sense, but together they construct a gifted and detailed image in my mind, an impressionist painting beaming with blurred blue and shadow gray and sunspot yellow. “But you're not coming home, again—night windows—and I won't ever get to say, night wi—remember how—but you're not—I'm sorry that—I miss the way—could we come home again—remember how—could we come home—I'm sorry that—I miss the way we get to say,” Samson stumbles out in Night Windows
, nervous and defeated, talking in the dark to someone he longs for but won’t see again.
In Tournament of Hearts
, he observes, “We roll right through our years. We rip right through our months. We slide through our days.” As a corollary, I use music like this to slow down, snap myself in place, just for a fleeting moment. The wonderful descriptions lock me there, and if I close my eyes, I see my long lost home, my weary car, and bruises that used to pepper my skin. “Take eight minutes and divide (sun in an empty room) by ninety million lonely miles (sun in an empty room) and watch a shadow cross the floor (sun in an empty room),” he hums, and I bet when Samson performs the song, his eyes close like mine, and he sees something, too.
Admittedly, yeah, every rotation, I skip nearly half of Reunion Tour
: namely, Virtute The Cat Explains Her Departure
is a terrible sequel to Plea From a Cat Named Virtute
; Elegy For Gump Worsley
bores me to no end, despite its poetic descriptions; and the string of three closing songs—Bigfoot
, Reunion Tour
, and Utilities
—end without impact at all. Those criticisms don’t diminish it too much, though. Unlike a concept album, this only has to provide a few songs that make me feel something. And they hold me tight like a lover’s embrace in a cold room, like a hesitant kiss to my forehead, an unsure squeeze of my shoulder, a foot tapping against mine, a playful shove.
The weather is cold outside, and I need something to warm up my mushy, punk rock heart.