I’ve already written some words about grunge-infused pop punkers Weatherstate before. In a genre that, particularly in the UK, can feel stagnant and oversaturated, this Dorsetian four-piece have developed a distinct sound that’s set them apart from their contemporaries in the scene. Having been a fan of their previous EPs, when their debut album ‘Born A Cynic’ dropped this week on Failure By Design Records — after what I can only describe as an absolutely genius marketing campaign (cheers guys, playing to my Nintendo nostalgia!) — I was excited to see how their sound would play out on their debut studio abum.
I felt like I was sold on the album the moment the grunge-infused guitars and double-time drums kicked in on blistering opener ‘Ghost’. There are some well-placed dynamic shifts on the track, with a Gnarwolves-esque vibe on the verses, a catchy as hell chorus and one hell of a sing-along coda (and let’s face it, I’m a huge sucker for pop punk songs with blast beats). The song seamlessly transitions into lead single ‘Brain Dead’, which exemplifies the band’s signature style of catchy, midtempo punk rock.
The third song, ‘Barely Human’, has somewhat more of a pop punk vibe to it. It’s nice to see the band try something more melodic — with some backing harmonies that remind me of many Feldmann-produced records — and they manage to pull it off without sacrificing their trademark style (and yes, that ending breakdown is killer!), which sets the album up to vary things up later down the line.
From there, the album seems to meander around a variety of styles while still keeping the signature Weatherstate sound that got me into them on their EPs. Tracks like straightforward punk rager ‘Rotten Lungs’ and Green Day homage ‘Medicate’ keep the momentum going enough for tracks like the riffy ‘Arteries’ and 90s grunge-tinged ‘Nothing Matters If You Try’ to go a bit more left-field with their sound, varying it up enough for the album to stay interesting without tracks blending into each other too much.
The only thing that I feel the need to comment on — and this probably comes to personal preference more than anything — is the lack of variation in melody in some of the tracks, with the chord progressions in a lot of the songs feeling similar. It would’ve been nice to hear some more melodic tracks such as ‘Barely Human’ in certain parts; however, the ending of the album remedies this perfectly for me, with penultimate track ‘Rented Space’ giving me a real ‘00s pop punk vibe. And perhaps the nature of the rest of the album gives the honest sentimentality of album closer ‘Cynic’ that more of a punch; this stripped back track gives the lyrics here a lot more poignance, wrapping up the album with a sincerity that reflects the overarching themes of Born a Cynic’s lyrics.
Overall, to me Weatherstate are still the breath of fresh air in the saturated market of UK pop punk I wrote about in my first article for this site. This album pays homage to their influences in a novel and catchy way — I heard elements of Green Day, Descendents, The Offspring and even Jawbreaker(?) in parts of this album — whilst also establishing Weatherstate as a band I’m seriously excited about watching the career of.[Cause I’m a wreck, I swear I don’t fit in // Losing touch with everything tonight]
FAV TRACKS: Ghost, Barely Human, Rotten Lungs, Cynic
LEAST FAV: Emma-Lynn
CHECK OUT: Ghost, Brain Dead
Check out ‘Born a Cynic’ at: