The Weakerthans make me wish I were Canadian
The fact that only the best bands tend to make it out of their respective homelands and into my hillbilly world gives the false impression that those countries produce fewer, but higher quality acts. Mumford and Sons and Adele’s recent explosions, for instance, give the impression that the UK is a utopia of songwriting and musicianship. Although they’ve never really caught on here like those big name acts, Winnipeg indie rockers The Weakerthans let me imagine that a wonderland of hyper-articulate dreamers exists just a few thousand miles to the north.
In their sophomore effort, Left and Leaving, frontman John K. Samson strikes the perfect balance between introspection and storytelling. Samson’s songs often feature refreshing micro-adventures, which provide hopefulness to a narrative that is always laced with self-doubt. One such example comes from “Watermark,” in which he confides to an unnamed listener “We’re talented and bright. We’re lonely and uptight. We’ve found some lovely ways to disappoint, but the airport’s almost empty this time of the year, so let’s go play on a baggage carousel. Set our watches forward like we’re just arriving here, from a past we left in a place we knew too well.”
While there really aren’t any “skips” on this album for me, highlights include the wistful “This Is a Fire Door Never Leave Open,” the almost spoken-word “Without Mythologies,” and the gently anti-establishment (and close to perfect) “My Favorite Chords.” As always, click the image for song clips!
From a later album, Reunion Tour, “Sun In an Empty Room” is my favorite song of theirs: