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Balloon Music for the Whole Family

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by Alex V. Cook, Music Editor for outsideleft.com
originally published: August, 2005
Never too intrusive or obtuse, while staying surprising

Weevil
Drunk on Light
(Wichita)

Last night, my 4-year old daughter and I were on our way to attend the mass ascension of a number of hot air balloons, and I perused my inbox of review CD's, hoping to find an inspired choice for such a singular event. I was thinking maybe something ceremonial and heavy to depict all that volume, all that incomprehensible semi-sculptural space. Or maybe something completely buoyant and fluffy to keep with the spirit of ballooning. Or maybe something, anything besides the Laurie Berkner that is her current favorite. Turns out my choice of Weevil's Drunk on Light was the exact right choice, as is highlighted by the three comments about it from the carseat behind me:

"Hey! This is not freaky."

While definitely an apt statement about Weevil's take on laptop indie rock, where light vocal harmonies are mixed with synthetic textures and bacterial percussion, I fear this may be more of a comment on the usual car music to which she is subjected by her old man. Regardless, this a categorical statement about Weevil's gentle take on techno-infused pop. On the opening track that produced this comment, "Out of Time," the unlisted singer's double tracked vocals glide gracefully over the ripple of complex beats and chiming synth lines.

"This sounds like the television"

Now, I'm not exactly sure where she is coming from on this one (or why she is saying something as precocious as "the television." Its not like we tromp around in homespun, eating granola in a yurt and the TV is an altogether foreign presence in her day-to-day), but I'll go with it anyway. Many of the tracks on Drunk on Light have both a mechanical buzz to them but a warm and familiar glow about them. "Halfsmile" is a gently alien pop melody sharing space with a glitchy beat and quickening pulse, while the more organic "Too Long Sleeping" could easily soundtrack a lead character staring at the sunset from the boardwalk right before the credits.

"Oh! I like this song"

This comment I get, and was posed directly at the positively catchy Yo La Tengo stylee surf buzz of "Silver Rails" where I really thing Weevil's strengths lie. The programmed beats manage to evoke the distinctive shuffle Georgia Hurley is kind enough to provide for us with the aforementioned group. The rest of the album sizes up as well. "Handburn" has a great slow dreamy warmth about it in its interplay of guitar, beats and accordion-like drones as does the distant sounding "A Million Things" There are also a smattering straight up pretty instrumental moments like the piano laden "Splinters" and "Fragment" to round this polished intelligent pop gem out. Never too intrusive or obtuse, while staying surprising, Weevil is a welcome addition on the pop music landscape.

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Alex V. Cook
Music Editor

Alex V. Cook listens to everything and writes about most of it. His latest book, the snappily titled Louisiana Saturday Night: Looking for a Good Time in South Louisiana's Juke Joints, Honky-Tonks, and Dance Halls is an odyssey from the backwoods bars and small-town dives to the swampside dance halls and converted clapboard barns of a Louisiana Saturday Night. Don't leave Heathrow without it. His first book Darkness Racket and Twang is available from SideCartel. The full effect can be had at alex v cook.com

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