The Weird Weeds

Help Me Name Melody

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The Weird Weeds take a turn for the even more intriguingly insular on Help Me Name Melody, a combination of minute-long songs, untitled pieces, and "regular" songs that themselves would bemuse plenty of other bands on their own. There's a choppy stop-start feeling to the sequencing of the album, with many songs feeling like a sudden new movement immediately following the conclusion of the previous song, as if there was only the quickest pause for breath. The now quartet's energy level throughout is one of almost nervous intensity, a bright, trebly sound that often careens wildly, as on the first of the four untitled instrumentals with its combination of bristling feedback and Can-like percussion. The paired guitar team of Sandy Ewen and Aaron Russell acts almost like a psych-garage take on the Chameleons partnership of Dave Fielding and Reg Smithies, a combination of shading and melodic drive. It might be at its clearest on "A Drought," with Ewen's tense, slow vocals playing out over a queasy roil of a riff even as a gentle melodic figure provides a slight anchor. Perhaps the strongest number is "Baby," a tempo-shifting epic in miniature at four minutes with a breakdown that could be pure heavy prog from 1975 drop-kicked 35 years into the future. That said, the second untitled instrumental, the longest song at eight minutes, is a lovely example of a dramatic number of its kind, with Nick Hennies' superlative drumming and the guest strings courtesy of Travis Weller making it something close to the band's own "Kashmir," at least at points.

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