Weatherboy – Weatherboy

Rarely will you hear a debut with such sly, understated ambition. Weatherboy represents the creative union of two seemingly disparate musical sensibilities. Ragnar Rosinkranz, Icelandic born multi-instrumentalist, makes for a remarkable twosome with Los Angeles restaurateur and artist John Walquist and the ten song collection coming out of their work together deserves consideration as one of the most breathtaking advances and elaborations in pop music heard in the last twenty years.

There’s an unique songwriting mix that powers this album and it’s clear they are unafraid to attack a song from any direction if it might help it realize its potential. Many reviewers might say they are cast most deeply into The Beatles//Beach Boys school of pop song craft, but Weatherboy’s reach extends far past the purview of high flown orchestral pop. There’s a sort of spiritual poetry infusing the lyrics and the superior vocal melodies and arrangements Weatherboy bring to each songs. There is a distinctly modern slant to the material and they dispatch each performance with a timeless verve and sense of possibility.

The sense of possibility and; liveliness of their music comes through in the opener. Got a Good Thing, like a number of tracks on this release, has some rather exuberant brass touches that give it a little added romp. The general tenor of Weatherboy’s material rarely veers from reflecting the sunny climate in which it was recorded, but it never threatens to lapse into insubstantiality. Some might go into this album expecting to discover Weatherboy are masters of texture, and they are, but few might expect the vocal excellence exhibited here and personifying the remainder of the release.

Songs like Great Great Life, Riding on the Wind, and the later A Bright Flame all exhibit the same tendency. Weatherboy’s singers aren’t afraid to scat, engage in a sort of call and response, or just purely harmonize. Walquist and Rosinkranz show the sort of influences you’d expect as songwriters, but they look far beyond merely pouring old wine into new bottles.

The duo can certainly summon a harder edge when needed. Bennett and All Your Fault are high peaks of the album’s music. Both songs are fiercely restless, whipping and sliding into each new section with astonishing fluidity. There’s no scarcity of firepower on the album’s remaining tracks but, judged on individual songs alone, Bennett and All Your Fault represent Weatherboy at their finest yet.

The album’s final tracks are as remarkable for their content as they are for what their placement says about the duo’s confidence level. Home Fire and Full Bloom step far away from the streamlined pomp and grandeur of the earlier songs in favor of stripped back arrangements and emotive, largely unvarnished vocals. The surety of direction it shows to place such a, for all intents, extended coda on the album shows the clarity of their artistic vision. This is a self-titled debut, hopefully not an one off project, well worth picking up and playing often.

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