Weatherboy – Self Titled
The ten song debut from Weatherboy is an outstanding mix of outright upscale pop gems possessing varying degrees of artistry. The collaboration between John Walquist and Ragnar Rosinkranz has wild musical dexterity and utilizes a number of seemingly disparate elements to supreme effect. There’s some clear influences exerting a hold over the musical imagination of this project, but Weatherboy are rare talents who have taken in those contributions, subsumed them into their musical DNA, and now reflect them back in a way unique to them. Their willingness to tamper with tempo, expand the genre’s instrumental vocabulary, and write from a place of immense skill and honesty, positions them to reinvent high pop, ala The Beatles, in unexpected ways. There are a lot of moods, however, weaving this album’s emotional character and they clearly entered into the studio with a clear conception of what they wanted and how to get it.
“Got a Good Thing” and some of the later songs make excellent use of brass color in their respective tracks, but it is rarely as successful as it is here. This is an ideal choice for a first song for a number of reasons, but one perhaps lesser discussed is that you just believe this song. This isn’t some trite pop lyric brag; the vocals deliver the words with genuine conviction while still retaining the necessary musical skills to make it work. “Riding on the Wind” is one of the album’s best songs. The vocal is truly masterful here and the streamlined, nearly muted in comparison to the album’s first two tracks, but it bubbles over with pal[able emotion. “Good Morning LA” is a love ode to the City of Angels, match, but it comes off as a highly personal bit of songwriting that only gets more personal, in some ways, as the song goes on. The brass is really important here, as well, but used in a very artful way that strengthens the song overall.
“Eva” is one of the more surprisingly sweet, unfettered numbers on the album. This is pure pastoral, a green song full of lush harmonies. It makes an ideal foil for the freewheeling madness of the song after it, “Bennett”, a musical free for all that finds Weatherboy shifting gears musically a number of times, yet always returning to the same central motif. The often thrilling changes of direction taken in the song are never handled with anything less than total command. “A Bright Flame” begins with an enormous fanfare before segueing into some more restrained verses. When the drumming takes over, the tempo keeps a slow mid tempo pace going throughout , but changes come fast and frequent. The album finale “Full Bloom” is a more than worthy ending to the album thanks to Weatherboy’s decision to just play things straight and not weigh that last cut down with anything else but voice and one added instrument. This deeply emotive ending brings Weatherboy’s debut to a memorable and passionate close.