Weekend – Hazel (2011)

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After spending the bulk of the past year on the road in support of last November’s excellent “Sports” LP on Slumberland Records, Weekend have also been hard at work on their followup record. Prior to their European tour in July, the band spent three weeks in the studio with producer Monte Vallier crafting their new EP, simply titled “Red.” Prepare yourself for yet another gorgeous, violent sonic assault, because this EP packs a serious punch.

Opener “Sweet Sixteen” is mesmerizing grind, stately bass and drums underpinned by soaring vocals and echoed shards of guitar feedback and plucked notes. This leads directly into the noise-pop gem that is “Hazel” — 3:50 of cascading bass chords, guitar clangor and a melody and chorus most pop bands would kill for. Amazing. “Your Own Nothing” is clattering piece of post-punk, spiked with layers of guitar noise and a dubbed-out atmosphere.

“The One You Want” is a rather more straight-forward tune in the manner of “Hazel” and further proof that Weekend can craft melodies just as well as they can innovate with guitar textures and dazzle with sonic overload. The EP concludes with “Golfers,” a song that downshifts into an extended minimal intro before building to a gorgeous crescendo of rumbling drums, chiming/fizzing guitars and as always that unerring sense of melody that Weekend always have in even the most noise-laden tunes.

“Red” is an excellent EP that packs more ideas into 5 songs than a lot of bands do into a whole record, and points the way forward towards Weekend’s next long-player, due in 2012. Be sure to catch them on tour throughout September with Talk Normal.

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