First Appeared in The Music Box, May 2008, Volume 15, #5
Written by John Metzger
Thu May 15, 2008, 08:30 AM CDT
There’s no doubt that The Weepies’ music is instantly likable. In fact, the duo of Deb Talan and Steve Tannen have parlayed this facet of their work into a strange variation on fame and fortune. Neither their faces nor their names are terribly recognizable, and the venues in which they frequently perform are small folk and supper clubs rather than oversized arenas. At the same time, though, the group’s songs have become so prevalent — particularly on television, where they’ve been featured in both soundtracks and commercials — that they’ve become utterly unavoidable. All this attention turned Say I Am You, The Weepies’ full-length debut, into a top-seller on iTunes, and it sustained the band’s lengthy trek across American and European soils.
Utterly exhausted, The Weepies returned home, but instead of rest and relaxation, Talan and Tannen married, had a child, collaborated with Mandy Moore, and assembled their sophomore set Hideaway. It ought not to be a surprise, then, that the group’s lyrics have turned a shade of gray or that a sense of general weariness pervades the endeavor. There are songs about dissolving friendships (Orbiting), broken relationships (All Good Things), and lonely yearning (Just Blue). Yet, there also are tunes about persevering in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles (Can’t Go Back Now, Lighting Candles), and the promise of springtime blooms is never far from reach.
Musically, The Weepies continues its trend of dressing its words in brightly colored, folk-pop garb. Talan’s and Tannen’s voices fit together perfectly, and their harmonies add subtle emotional textures to their material in ways that are as strikingly lovely as they are effective. More often than not, as the guitars twinkle like stars, the songs on Hideaway evoke the gentle hum of twilight. Nevertheless, although there are flourishes of The Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel percolating through its arrangements, The Weepies clearly has its heart set mostly upon reshaping the southern California-bred pop of Fleetwood Mac. The emotional turbulence that lent an edge to its heroes’ work is, however, missing from its own pursuits. Taken in small doses, songs like Can’t Go Back Now and the ebullient, Joni Mitchell-esque Old Coyote hold up quite well, but over the course of its 14 tracks, Hideaway begins to sound too comfortable, pretty, saccharine, and safe to leave much of a lasting impression. ˝
Of Further Interest...
Hideaway is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2008 The Music Box