It’s the 90s turn to make their resurgence. The evidence is all around us: acid-washed-mom-jeans, neon spandex, crop tops, and the ever-loathed fanny pack. But this is the price we are willing to pay if it means the re-popularization of the grimy 90s music we will always cherish. The 90s brought us Nirvana, Letters to Cleo, The Smashing Pumpkins, and countless other favourites. Nearly two decades later, Weird Lines are following in these noble footsteps with their self-titled LP.
Weird Lines is something of a super group, and if there’s anyone qualified to usher in a second coming of the 90s it’s prolific New Brunswick songwriter Julie Doiron, formerly of Eric’s Trip, the first Canadian band to be signed to Seattle grunge label Sub Pop Records. Doiron is also one of the key organizers behind Sappy Records, and subsequently Sappyfest, the Sackville based indie music festival now in its eleventh year. But I digress… Along with C.L.McLaughlin, James Anderson, Jon McKiel, Chris Meaney, and M.C.Dugauy, they’ll have us back in unironic plaid and ripped jeans in no time.
Making a dramatic and triumphant start with ‘Fade In My Heart’, Weird Lines make a bold statement. It doesn’t necessarily hint at what the rest of the album will bring, but nevertheless, they make an entrance. In the background there is a rogue oscillator that at times sounds like they let their eight-year-old niece Heather make a valiant attempt at accompanying them on her dollar store recorder, and we applaud her for her effort. But it all comes together at the end, in that it comes apart as the song purposefully self-destructs into a beautifully messy mass of rhythmic noise.
What comes next is an unexpectedly melodic guitar riff in ‘Between the Lamppost (You and I)’, although after a quick duet with the saxophone, their grungy goodness is back in full force, their niece Heather* piping away in the background. A little on the darker side with minor chords, alternating time signatures, and wailing saxophone, this, their first single, is the perfect combination of east coast indie rock and distortion.
Continuing with the theme of introducing a dramatic change for each new track come the happy and head-boppy doo-wops of ‘One Fell Swoop’. This song is somewhat minimalistic compared to its counterparts, with chunks featuring a simple medley of mellow guitar and vocals which is regularly interjected with the full band’s jangly jives.
Once they’ve stated their trifecta of inspirations—“50s pop, 90s distortion, and a little magic in Sackville, New Brunswick”—every song fully embraces their rockabilly-surfer sound. What follows is a consistently pleasing surf-rock, jangle-pop, doo-wop dance party that you’ll want to remember in a few months when summer is coming to a close. It might just give you the boost you need to take one more kick at that summer can.
For more information visit www.linesweird.com
*Heather is their fictional niece who enjoys accompanying them on her recorder… It is actually a synthesizer. Probably.