2010’s Sports cut through Weekend‘s San Francisco home fog like a mint Harley hugging Highway 1, armed with feedback and scuzzy guitars, frontman Shaun Durkan hidden behind the haze of it all, but whirling about the mic at just the right moments to narrate a tale of hearts awoken from a “Coma Summer.”
The opening moments of sophomore follow up, Jinx, is simply a different beast, its mint Harley Highway 1 shredder caked in dust and road salt, confused and frustrated on the BQE, Durkan’s vocals alone and self-deprecating, trading the band’s MBV roar of yore for the down and out gaze of “Disintegration,” manically trying to shake a sick heart on opener “Mirror:” [LISTEN]
Two huge things happened between Sports and Jinx: 1.), the band added a fourth member (bassist Nick Ray) and moved to NYC and 2.) Durkan saw the death of a family member and slapped himself with sobriety and therapy. How this equates to a more cleansing, arena-bent sound is a curious thing, but Durkan’s three adjective reduction of the new record does sum up the narrative quite right: “Volatile. Cathartic. Bittersweet.”
That’s not to say Jinx is devoid of joy. “It’s Alright” should go back in time and place itself on Disintegration, with its “Pictures of You” beat, toasty reverb squall guitar tones and sweet, accepting oblivion found in the trenches of love: [LISTEN]
And “Celebration, FL” is probably a metaphorical poke at the fake smiles of an oddly named America town that Disney tried to begin its taking over the world with – and that Chumbawamba beat Weekend to – but nevertheless swoons with the same warm, Jesus and Mary Chain tones of “It’s Alright” in its glorious chasing of “lost control,” destructive or not, the ride’s still fun:
Will the now Brooklyn transplants be filling stadiums with those affirmations. No, no they will not. Despite its moments of pop clarity from time to time, the rest of Jinx is indeed a downward spiral of cathartics and haunts as Durkan alludes, and from berating “lost faith” mantras on a song named after a dungeon (“Oubliette“) to the palpitating chainsaw bass lines riding the assertion “heaven doesn’t smile for me here anymore” (“Just Drive“), it’s still a loner dashboard pounder for those looking to sweat out some demons. Or re-comatose one’s summer.