There’s something that I’ve always found quite welcoming about albums recorded at home. As a recording musician, I vastly prefer it to the confines of the recording studio, in which creativity and performance are often dulled by the clock ticking away at $50 an hour or more. “Good enough”, as a concept, need not apply for albums made at home – for better or worse. “Weight”, the latest offering from Durt Dog The Band, is a prime example of the artistic advantages and disadvantages this method provides.
The album opens with a tellingly off-kilter piece entitled “Unidentified Flying Owls”, a swirling collection of found audio dialogue, tentative bass, and clean electric guitar harmonies that are anything but obvious. Given my taste for experimental production, this was a solid way to begin the album. However, my biggest gripe with Weight came to the fore quickly on the second track, “Things I Care About”. The mix was panned almost entirely to the left speaker throughout, with the exception of a short lead guitar and the occasional vocal pan. I physically felt my head tilting to the left, and by the end of the track had endured a fair amount of ear fatigue on my left side. I had to take a break before continuing.
It is not without its lows, but the highs frequently outweigh the lows.
Fortunately, this was a single misstep in an otherwise solid collection of pretty guitar work and interesting production and mixes. “Rat Traps” is perhaps the best example of what Weight has going for it: layers of acoustic guitars, sparse vocals with lush effects, and driving yet somewhat syncopated rhythms. Closer “Eight” provides a satisfying finish; after several tracks of panning effects pulling the listener around somewhat bare songs, “Eight” concludes with the sound of a full band playing in a room, albeit a band of one. After six smaller sounding and acoustic based songs, it provides a sense of resolution that neatly resolves all of the ideas on the album.
Overall, Weight is a strange album. It is not without its lows, but the highs frequently outweigh the lows. If “Things I Care About” had been cut or remixed, I would have given my wholehearted recommendation of this album to fans of Joseph Arthur, Kurt Vile, or even Guided by Voices. Although one glaring mistake on a seven song album carries a fair amount of weight (pun unintended), the rest of this album is a quirky and eclectic batch of tunes that should not be missed.If you’d like to send in your album/EP/single for review, email us a download link and any related liner notes or press information.