2016 has been unbelievably kind in its production of legitimately great albums, EP’s, amd demos. Roughly halfway into the year and there are already well over two dozen legitimate Album of the Year contenders alone. Unsurprisingly, even more great full streams keep surfacing. While not all of these are quite at that year-end level, there were several deserving titles that were unveiled over the past 24 hours from the likes of G.L.O.S.S., Small Culture, Exam Season, and No Friends’ fourth Flexi compilation, while another curiosity arrived in the form of Marge’s three-track teaser for Bruise Easy. One of the day strongest standouts came from site favorites Weaves.
As was recently mentioned in the last Watch This entry, Weaves have been on an absolute tear since releasing the pointed, lived-in basement pop stomper “Shithole“. The band seemed to his a stretch of galvanization and poured a wealth of creative energy into their material, enhancing an already outsize persona with vigor and aplomb. After a few promising early releases, the band seemed to latch onto an identity and draw strength from their own discoveries. Emboldened by their own artistic growth, Weaves illustrates just how much fire the band has in its ribs.
From the sudden squall that opens “Tick”, Weaves‘ volatile opening track, the band never really eases off the gas pedal. This is, unmistakably, one of 2016’s wildest, boldest, and most invigorating releases. Teeming with an outsize persona and a frightening excess of energy, the band imbues the 11 tracks up for offer on Weaves with an abundance of genuine feeling. No punches are pulled and each blow lands with the force of an anvil. Bolstered by frenetic guitar work, the compelling narratives and vocal fireworks of Jasmyn Burke, and an almost frighteningly intuitive togetherness, Weaves‘ first section threatens to derail the entire affair.
Fortunately, Weaves have been perfecting just about everything in their arsenal, from production tricks to pacing, and the results aren’t just showing, they’re flashing two more rows of sharpened teeth; this is a record that runs deep. When “Shithole” — one of last year’s finest songs — finally hits, the song nearly becomes a reprieve. Scaling back the tempo, Burke’s honesty gains even more impact as the band conjures up the kind of reassuring bed of noise that elevates every word. “Eagle” follows suit, allowing Weaves to coast on the momentum they generated with the opening run of tracks while still expanding the record’s intrigue.
Weaves start waving their freak flag higher and more proudly in the record’s back half, though the prominence of that act never quite hits the exhilarating peaks produced by the brilliant back-to-back pairing of “Two Oceans” and “Human”. Following a sequence that staggering would seem nearly impossible for just about any other band but it ultimately opens up what Weaves can do with the record’s closing third, an opportunity they seize with a gleeful relish. Two 2016 highlights — “Coo Coo” and “One More” — enliven the home stretch but don’t necessarily establish themselves as the section’s definitive numbers.
It’s in that final sequence where Weaves cement that their self-titled effort was concocted as a well-thought whole; Weaves is a classic example of a genuine album. In a few years, Weaves may also genuinely come to be considered a classic album. The final piece to the puzzle that should help ensure its legacy is the placement of the record’s most explosive moment (“One More”, a no-brainer selection for one of the 50 Best Songs of 2016’s First Quarter compilation) with its most beautiful piece.
“Stress”, Weaves‘ finale, is nothing short of breathtaking. Tranquil, oddly moving, and quietly propulsive, “Stress” fully demonstrates just how far Weaves have come since their modest beginnings. Gentle melodies, well-placed stabs of feedback, and the kind of contemplative calm that descends after a vicious storm are underscored for the duration of “Stress”, allowing the band to seamlessly merge the sensibilities that frequently accompany both finale and epilogue. It’s a haunting number that provides Weaves with an unforgettable finish, solidifying its status as one of the stronger records this decade.
It’s not just that no one does what Weaves are doing as well as they do, it’s that no one else is even making an attempt. Should Weaves inspire some attempts at this particular eclectic blend of songwriting styles, genres, and cornerstones, this record will retain — and most likely remain in — a position as the gold standard. Grab onto something close and hold on tightly because Weaves is an unpredictable, exhilarating, and ultimately deeply satisfying thrill ride that knows no borders or boundaries. Greet it with an anxious smile and give in to its myriad charms.
Listen to Weaves below and pick it up from Kanine here.