by Craig Howieson
Weakened Friends crush the unsettling questions that come with getting older under the raucous alt-rock of their new album
There is no switch to flick as you get older that will make you better equipped to deal with the world around you. Your late twenties and early thirties (and I can only guess beyond) are an exercise in playing a role you feel no more ready to fill than you would have at 16. Still the same kid at heart, it’s merely the situations and problems that have changed.
Weakened Friends’ 2018 debut, Common Blah, was a hedonistic stumble through the malaise that is your so-called ‘formative’ years. Filled with the angst of an interloper at a party they wished they’d never shown up at, it was a stunning search for some sort of steady footing, and was accompanied by a glorious soundtrack of 90s infused alt rock.
Led by songwriter, vocalist and guitarist, Sonia Sturino, Quitter finds the band a little further down the road – wisened, but no less unsettled. As friends fall into familial comforts and steady jobs, Sturino is still blazing behind the eyes in search of more. Searching to find a fix – for herself and for those around her – Quitter is packed with big questions and the biggest sounding songs they have put out to date.
It’s ok to settle for your lot in life. After all, there are special moments in every existence. But it’s also ok to rail against it, to take a stand and say this is not for me. Weakened Friends are fighting for something more, and as the sweat and blood hits the floor they are doing it in a gloriously raucous fashion. On the fuzzed out perfection of What You Like, amidst the double stop chorus, Sturino battles with whether she acts for herself or someone else. The playful palm muted introduction to The Last Ten descends into one of the record’s most energetic and immediate choruses as a breathless Sturino looks for something better.
The band recently (perhaps only partially) joked on Twitter that they are as influenced by Avril Lavigne as they are by the obscure grunge bands to which they are often compared. While their melodies may be more than infectious enough to infiltrate the daily playlists, there is a depth to Quitter that make it perfect for the stretching nights. There is a new sense of melancholy at play above their bursts of pop-punk that comes with the nostalgia of aging. This is particularly evident on the album’s incredible closer, Point Of Interest. In fact, the band are now two for two in their quest for the perfect end to an album after Good Friend rounded off Common Blah. The gang chorus and explosion of brass leaves you swaying in the aisles, ready to pick up and start again.
This is not the sound of settling, it’s a punch thrown at the parameters of life. Sturino and co. may question whether their pursuit of a career in music is sensible. But for those who listen to Quitter, that question will never cross their mind.
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