April 13, 2005

Weather "Calling Up My Bad Side"

Young bands like Weather are a lot like teenagers. They've got a personality that's their own, but in the process of defining who they are, they do tend to wear their influences on their sleeves. The way they wear their hair, the music they listen to, the books they read, the movies they watch--it's almost always based upon someone else's style. You can't blame the kids for being that way; it's just the nature of being young and impressionable. Annoying as it may be, it is also an important phase of growth--the search for an identity.

The principle is certainly true with Calling Up My Bad Side, Weather's debut album. When you set aside the feeling that you've heard their record before, you'll find a band who likes soft, somewhat sad pop music. They do tend to wear their influences on their sleeve, and at times their sound is a bit too reliant on the Britpop style, leaning towards a style that reminds a bit too much of Coldplay and Travis. This isn't necesarily a bad thing, though, because those bands have a high quality style that requires a bit of talent to duplicate--and besides, there are worse bands to emulate.

Gentle melodies are made quite wonderful by vocalist Sean Campbell, who occasionally sounds like a mix between Chris Martin, Britt Daniel, Bono and Sting, and you can't fault Weather for not appreciating and not writing a good melody. From the sad "Falling Down" and the heartbreaking "All This Time" to the joyously upbeat "Calling Up My Bad Side" and "Short And Sweet," these songs have a mature grace about them that's lacking these days. The combination of Campbell's singing and the band's talents results in radio-friendly songs that have a sound that's both modern and, at times, reminiscent of the better pop hits of the 1980s, without all the trappings of sounding retro. "Torn Man Down" and "In My Blood" have an appeal that makes you wish Weather was on the radio.

Despite these little annoyances, Calling Up My Bad Side is an excellent debut record. Sure, it might occasionally sound generic here and there, there's plenty to enjoy here, and many bands should be so lucky as to release such a great-sounding debut. Give this young group some time, and it's a likely thing that their less than original moments will quickly develop into a sound that's all their own.

--Joseph Kyle

Artist Website: http://www.thebandweather.com
Label Website: http://www.cakerecords.com

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