Underground Lovers – Weekend Album Review
This is all speculation, but after listening to Weekend, by Underground Lovers, I think I have an idea from where their name was derived. Are they big fans of The Velvet Underground? I don’t know. I haven’t spoken to them. The music would imply as much.
Underground Lovers are the illegitimate child of Nico and Thurston Moore, caught between two worlds. One of post-hippy, art-centric, weirdo goodness, and the other of, uhh… post-disco, art-centric, weirdo goodness. Either way, this album will take you to the once-dangerous streets of New York City, but when you land there is a matter of your interpretation. In 1964 a young Lou Reed and John Cale are hustling the East Village art scene, trying to get their band, the Velvet Underground, started. Meanwhile, down the street, a 6 year old Thurston Moore is taking notes and waiting patiently for 1981 and his turn to come.
Weekend starts off slowly with “Spaces” which is a relaxed number that induces a spaced-out frame of mind. I pictured myself opening all of the windows in the house and just wandering from room to room, aimlessly, in a trance-like state until the song was over. Not many songs I encounter create such a vivid idea in my head. Following that, the band kicks up the tempo on “Can For Now,” which, on first listen, made me play “Teenage Riot” by Sonic Youth just to make sure that copyright laws weren’t being trampled. Honestly, they don’t sound too incredibly similar, but the guitar tone and tempo certainly seem borrowed.
“Dream To Me” brings the tempo down again, and is a sweet jaunt in the park, hand-in-hand on a Sunday afternoon with a Korg keyboard and what sounds like a flute. Then you realize that there’s a a shadowy over-driven guitar following you in the shadows and get nervous, until you realize he just needs directions to the bus station and all ends serenely. Some of the songs are danceable, which is always a plus. Electronic elements are scattered throughout the record, but, in my opinion, often under-utilized.
The band had not played together since the 90’s when they got together in 2010 for a live performance at Homebake. They were reportedly well-received and it’s not surprising considering that this style (especially of the two bands I’ve beaten to death comparing them to) is rarely emulated, and has come full circle to sound fresh again. It’s a good record through and through, it just seems a bit dated, which is not always a bad thing.
Sounding a bit, also, like Yo La Tengo, and even sometimes, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, it hearkens back to a simpler time in music when artists knew how to rock AND roll. They weren’t just interested in screaming the loudest, playing the fastest, or being the most controversial.
If you’re looking for something cool that you can enjoy and will probably confuse, and intrigue your friends, give a spin.
Standout tracks include the aforementioned “Can For Now,” “Signs of Weakness” and “Au Pair.” I didn’t have a chance to try it but I bet this album will sound great turned all the way up on a good car stereo. That’s just an opinion, and we can not be held liable for blown car speakers. Rock at your own risk.