Worn Thin

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While Weep's debut release on Projekt would seem on first blush to be -- thanks to the label and general design and more, not to mention singer Doc Hammer's pedigree in acts like Mors Syphilitica -- yet another goth rock album, it's one of those efforts that draws on bands more adopted by said genre fans rather than necessarily being that way in the first place. Thus the charging, lush guitar and keyboard arrangements evident from the opening "Snow Scenery" are much more in line with acts like Echo & the Bunnymen and the Kitchens of Distinction -- or hints of Interpol, if one prefers more recent points of comparison -- than, say, the Sisters of Mercy or Bauhaus. (Songs like "When I'm Wrong" suggest that the real commonality might be mid-'80s Siouxsie and the Banshees.) Add to that an upbeat, sprightly joy evident in the arrangements of songs like "Let Me" and the sense is much more one of darker shades to the side rather than front and center, moodily beautiful but not sulking. Hammer aims for dry, demi-robot-like vocals that ease the kick of the songs, a calm passion that suggests changing moods without acting them out to the full. As can be the case with many debuts, there's a relative sameness that tends to blend the songs together more than let them stand out -- the slower melody to "A Reminder" is an exception for that reason. Topping it all off are two covers at the end -- Jesus Jones' "Right Here, Right Now" is nicely transformed into the band's style with a slightly angrier edge, but it's Rihanna's "Shut Up and Drive" that is even more of a revelation, turning the machine pop of one style into another with ease.

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