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Weekend, ‘Jinx’ – Album Review

Weekend have been a band to root for since arriving with their debut LP, ‘Sports,’ in 2010 and pulverizing audiences globally through what seemed like endless touring. It was refreshing to hear something that heavy coming from a place other than the hardcore or metal scene. Despite their faithfulness to shoegaze and post-post aesthetics, which are difficult to expand on greatly at this point, Weekend seemed inspired, suggesting intense volume and general discontent were enough when combined in just the right way.

Follow-up ‘Jinx’ was recorded in Brooklyn, where the Bay Area band has since set up shop. The collection gives an indication where songwriter Shawn Durkan was before he decided to relocate. He comes across as restless and uneasy, battling demons stemming from the untimely passing of his father, post-punk musician Thomas “Jinks” Durkan, and from his own tendency to live a fast lifestyle common in touring musicians.

It’s easy to appreciate the dual nature and complexity throughout ‘Jinx,’ where even the title lends itself to two obvious interpretations. ‘Mirror,’ the lead — and ultimately best — track sees Durkan singing about a version of himself that only comes out at night, as well as “feeling sick in the heart.” Knowing the album’s back-story — Durkan suffered a breakdown and underwent therapy while writing of ‘Jinx’ — the listener is well aware that none of the emotion or sentiment is the product of over-dramatic songwriting, and really, you just hope his head is in a better place now.

And though the sentiments are generally dark and conflicted on ‘Jinx,’ the album comes off as exactly what the band intended it to sound like. Durkan, drummer Abe Pedroza and guitarist Kevin Johnson play with unmistakable chemistry, displaying their long friendship through the music. The group explores darkwave more than it did in the past, but highlights ‘Scream Queen,’ ‘Adelaide’ and ‘Oubliette’ are — not coincidentally — among the noisiest songs. Because Weekend seldom let loose like they do in concert, they fall short of reaching a level they’ve seemed on the cusp of since the ‘Sports’ cut ‘Coma Summer.’ Only on ‘Mirror’ do they transcend genre and produce a truly a great song that seems bigger than the band. And given the trio’s ambition, that’s likely what they’ve aimed for all along, though they may have misjudged to a small extent how the reaction to the songs would be.

Weekend’s career will be defined by whether they’re able to create a full album that gives that same feeling, and the band’s willingness to push themselves is a good sign they’ll get there.

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