The Weather Station
When I sit at the computer keyboard ready to write a review, and I find myself sitting back scratching my chin looking for the words to describe a particular CD, it's either a good thing cause I'm blown away by the music, or a bad thing that I am confused by what I am hearing.
The Line from The Weather Station might be that rare combination where it's a case of both.
This Toronto-based band proclaims itself a folk/experimental group when you check out their Myspace spot (http://www.myspace.com/theweatherstationband). I was immediately intrigued by just what that might mean.
The CD starts off with a short piece called The Waltz, which is a whole lot experimental, a fair bit confusing, and definitely not the best choice for a lead-in cut. Just too out there, even as just a short little intro cut. Too many might never get past that one to hear the enticing material to follow.
For example, Coming To Town really impressed me. Here is a song that has a bluegrass feel to it, yet smoothly transitions into segments that are near metal in their approach. That's a pretty sweet trick to pull off, but The Weather Station pulls it off.
East is just a plain good song. It is arguably the best here, but that might be because it is the most traditional in terms of being folk as most of us think of folk.
That is not what The Weather Station is about though. This is a band which plays folk, but never reads the manual in terms of what makes folk – well folk. Instead, they use folk as merely a base and then layer on anything that they feel fits, and that often means some rather unusual approaches to music.
A case in-point is the cut March. Throughout there is a clear folk heartbeat, yet The Weather Station layers on some intriguing musical elements to create a particularly interesting example of what they mean by experimental.
When it comes to the experimental, there is a sort of techno intro to The Hunter as a prelude to a song that has a very Celtic feel to it. Quite interesting.
The music here is also powered very much by the haunting quality of lead vocalist Tamara Lindeman's vocals. That haunting quality is particularly evident in a cut such as Caterwhaul.
She writes all the songs too, showing she is one very talented lady in terms of music.
With the exception of the short intro cut, this is a CD I highly recommend. It really shows just what can be done with a very old musical style (folk) to give it a fresh new face. An intriguing effort that should not be overlooked.
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Aug. 5, 2009 - Yorkton, SK. Canada