Weevil - Drunk On Light
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Weevil
Drunk On Light

Weevil is a slightly-unfortunately named British duo consisting of multi-instrumentalists Tom Betts and Johnny Weevil. Drunk On Light is the debut from the group, which was almost five years in the making after the dissolution of their previous bands. Even before the recent release of the disc, they managed to snag some high-exposure ink for themselves by having part of their track "Bytecry" used by Apple computers for the opening animation for Mac OS X 10.4.1. If it was good enough for Eno (who supposedly earned 50 thousand dollars for his 5-second intro created for Microsoft Windows), it's certainly a nice bonus for a lesser-known (for now) electronic-rock duo.

Over the course of eleven tracks and just over fifty minutes worth of music, the duo carves out a warm swath of sound that calls to mind everything from soft shoegaze to IDM-laced pop music as dual-part vocal harmonies collide with skittery programming, fuzzy guitars, and other instrumentation. Opening track "Out Of Time" gives one a good idea of what to expect as soft synth pads mingle with delicate piano keys and rounded-edge guitars while Betts and Weevil croon along. "Half Smile" picks up the tempo and although it still doesn't rock out, the track easily arrives as one of the best tracks on the entire release with the quickened pace and more textural guitar work (that seems to channel Jesus And Mary Chain).

In many ways, Drunk On Light reminds me of the rather groundbreaking (at the time) Neon Golden by The Notwist. Tight programming is mixed in with actual played instruments while a real focus is placed on vocals. Weevil is much more guitar/synth based in their instrumentation than the more classically-minded Notwist (which dabbled in everything from strings to woodwinds), and the result is a lovely little release that sounds like jangly indie rock filtered through the electronic spectrum with a touch of dreampop for good measure.

There are a good portion of tracks on the release that offer sing-along qualities, and the aforementioned "Bytecry" isn't even one of the strongest tracks on the release. The duo's influences shine through in places (such as the New Order-inspired "Splinters"), yet even their nods feel like updated tributes rather than cribbed. Although the group changes things up slightly on the release by shifting the tempo of tracks, my biggest gripe with Drunk On Light is that many of the vocal melodies feel too similar and the release as a whole simply plays it too safely some of the time. There are places where it sounds like the group is going to really let things explode, but they instead pull back, and while it's not a huge detriment, it feels like the corners have been rounded a bit for safety. Considering this is just the debut from the young group, there's obviously nowhere to go but up, but here's hoping it doesn't take another five years for their next album.

rating: 7.510
Aaron Coleman 2005-06-23 00:00:00