Weekend take their cues from Swans and from Joy Division and even from U2, a little bit. But their music seems to be distinctly a product of the new millennium, entrenched as it also is in the humorless gestures of post-rock guitar splintering. For Jinx, Weekend have beefed up their sound from the deliciously anxious wreck that was 2010’s Sports. Though Jinx is a measurable upgrade from Sports in terms of sound quality, its soul feels sold and absent is any of the fierce, funny noisiness that made Sports so likable.
I could imagine “July” being sung by someone like Morrissey, who could infuse it with an efficacious and witty spirit. Shaun Durkan is an exceptional vocalist, but he doesn’t offer anything particularly unique and with songs like these you need something to provide a little breakaway. Look at The National for example; take away Matt Berninger’s Whiskey-soaked baritone and you’re left with four old dudes pretending to be Franz Ferdinand. Weekend feel like they could be heading in that direction. Weekend have a lot in common – tone-wise – with label mates Pains of Being Pure at Heart, but don’t seem to be willing to take the extra steps towards unabashed Robert Smith worship, and they’re hurting a little for it.
“It’s Alright” provides for the album’s most insistent song, though I sort of with it sold itself a little harder on its semi-experimental opening bit. Durkan’s bass parts more than make up for the song’s soggy repeal, and there’s an exceptional crystaline guitar bit to boot. The background vocal wallops ring somewhere between Bono and Brooklyn rooftop show circa 2010; I like them, though. The song feels a little too embedded in the album – there isn’t enough of a dynamic shift from the last song to make it stand out in any noticeable way, and a weird lack of dynamics plagues Jinx. It is a well-produced album, but it seems to skew safe when what it really needs is a little bravery.
Jinx is a nice little release, but as douchey as it may sound I really just don’t see the point; why did we need another one of these albums? Yes, the composition and production of music can act as a personal catharsis, as I’m sure it does for the members of Weekend, but I feel like you have to at least try to inject something interesting or funny or new into the mix. The songs on Jinx sound like they’re basically in one key, vamping between two or three chords, and slung to The Bravery’s rhythm section. There are some exceptional moments on Jinx – for example the strangely modulated bass slugs on “Just Drive” – but whether you listen to the album or not I get the feeling it’ll make about the same lasting impression.