Running Back

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With a noisy, gazey sound that's gloriously murky and overdriven, Vancouver's Weed have everything it takes to be a part of the proud lineage of bands they are so obviously influenced by. A quick listen to a few songs from their second LP, Running Back, and names like Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, and Dinosaur Jr. will spring to mind readily. Like those groups, Weed harness the power of abrasive guitars played very, very loud; they have pedals that make things go whoosh; they have a drummer who hits the cymbals like he's trying to shatter them into shards; and above all, they have the kind of dynamic energy that makes the music come alive. There's no doubt that Weed are doing some serious excavation of the past, but they aren't just re-creating it in some lifeless, predictable fashion. They write songs that are memorable and hooky, sing and play them like every note really matters, and masterfully bowl over any reservations one might have about yet another band playing this same style. Similar to what Nothing did on their excellent album Guilty of Everything, Weed don't sound like hoary revivalists at all; instead, they sound like they are here to teach other revivalist bands how to do things the right way. Anyone looking for such a lesson can turn to the swooning "Muscles" and the deeply melancholic "They Don't Ask Me" to see how to make shoegaze that twangs the heartstrings real hard, look to the raucous "Never Leave" for tips on rocking out noise pop style without overdoing it, or check out "Meet Me with Ease" to learn how to sound exactly like the Swirlies. Pick pretty much any song and you've got a masterclass on how to mash up brain-rattling noise, pillowy dream pop, and warped shoegaze into something exciting and new. Or into something that's basically as good as the music they are working so hard to revive -- that's the real trick and Weed pull it off on Running Back with ease.

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