Weatherboy – Self Titled
The first release from John Walquist and Ragnar Rosinkranz’s project Weatherboy is a self-titled ten song collection with a surprising amount of thematic unity and tight focus. These are only two of the album’s defining features. Their fearless strip mining of quasi-orchestral pop and re-inventing it into something more organic and modern befitting their own inner voice and our modern era. Perhaps unsurprisingly considering Walquist’s penchant for surfing, the lyrical content is rife with sea imagery, but this is songwriting that never succumbs to cliché. The production is first class and largely disdains a lot of post production gimmickry; when those moments come, however, Weatherboy maintain a level of taste that keeps the songs above water. Often, when we think of pop music, we imagine utterly disposable fare like dance tracks or so forth, but Weatherboy serve up pop music of an entirely different sort. This is pop music capable of great intimacy while still enlivening the spirit with an entertaining listening experience.
They’ve enlisted the, perhaps, unlikely help of iconic guitarist Phil Keaggy for this release and his presences graces every track. His steadily creative hand on guitar brings a lot to the album opener, but it’s the comprehensive approach Weatherboy takes that really wins the day for performances like the opener “Got a Good Thing”. There’s some strong drumming driving this along and it is recorded in such a way you can’t help but pay attention. The incorporation of brass lines in both this song and the second “Great Great Life” are vivid splashes of color over otherwise already vibrant sonic canvases The exuberance heard in both songs doesn’t sound forced at all and they are a great tandem to begin the album with, but things don’t slide from there. The next song “Riding on the Wind” has some strong acoustic guitar and begins with a slightly folky vibe before multi-track and backing vocals come in and the song transitions into a jangling march. This bit of forcefully ethereal pop adds more elements and peaks during the song’s final half.
“Goodbye LA” is a delightfully woozy and upbeat pop confection with some revealing personal lyrics and understated guitar from Keaggy snaking its way through the mix. The horns are, once again, great touch here and the song ends in a particularly lovely fashion. “Bennett” is one of the album’s finest songs thanks to the how successful the wide net it casts proves to be. There’s a lot going on here musically, but the vocal stands out so much – the singing careens from one passage to with the next with a keen ear for the complex composition’s needs. “All Your Fault” is another musical zenith on this debut and shows a fiercer nature than what we’ve been accustomed to thus far on the release. The album’s final songs “Home Fire” and “Full Bloom” are much different than the aforementioned eight tracks and bring Weatherboy’s album to a satisfying conclusion. This is a masterful debut with tremendous ambition and sounds like the beginning of something special should they choose to pursue it.