Regular Price: $16.98
Online Sale Price! $13.98
Join the Weep mailing list, to get up-to-date on all things WEEP.
Autumn's Grey Solace
Merging Doc's husky croon, post-punk guitars and catchy 80's bass-lines/synths, WEEP creates a dark yet satisfyingly upbeat pop album painted by WEEP's passion and unflinching take on contemporary music. Alate, written and produced by WEEP's guitarist/vocalist Doc is the perfect epic follow up to WEEP's impressive debut, Worn Thin (PRO243, 2010). Taking us on a sonic journey through thunderous drums, wailing vocals, grand ballads, raging guitars and everything in between, the album is fused together perfectly: melodic, driving and catchy. Alate teems with dark distorted anthems for the modern age. The album positions WEEP as successors to the likes of Echo & The Bunnymen and The Cure, up through guitar bands such as The Smashing Pumpkins and Placebo, then on past White Lies and Interpol… 'til eventually WEEP is compared with only one sound: WEEP.
Alate takes the listener confidently through eleven future classics. Huge guitars, huge drums, and huge choruses work to create a sound that moves the listener through WEEP's epic creation. As timeless as it is contemporary, WEEP screams in brooding pop and alternative rock languages to create something that, in its strength, has the ability to sound fragile and even a little delicate.
As a vocalist, Hammer finds his voice on Alate. What was once a somber murmur has become a growl that confidently pilots the drama within. Doc's voice has developed into a controlled yell that even dips into a croon when necessary. Throughout Alate his voice is assured enough to be beautiful.
DOC HAMMER – "I hate singers. They're these overly confident douche bags for the most part. But when I look up and see a microphone in front of my face, I'm forced to face the facts: I'm that asshole now. I'm the guy I've always hated, so I better at least deliver. I thought about what I like in a singer and it came down to "They sound like only themselves, and aren't afraid to show me what they feel." So that was my job. To not crap on the songs. To be honest and brave. To throw away all that, sometimes crippling, self awareness and just feel it. To express the passion without worrying what they're gonna say about me in homeroom tomorrow. I mean, I can't be that confident guy that naturally bears his shallow soul as if it were as deep as the Atlantic, but I can be that guy that steps up, and gives the songs he loves (too much) some respect. So I did. It was freeing. It changed everything. It was like WEEP opened a door and walked through it."
DOC HAMMER – "I wanted to make something that one person thinks is the greatest record of all time, while their friend is like 'I don't get it, it's stupid.' Does that make sense? When I was a kid I heard The Smiths, and my head exploded. I played it for my best friend and he didn't like it AT ALL. That's the kinda Truth I was shooting for. To lock into the heartbeat of that person that's like me and give them something that they can adore. You can't make something like that and not be constantly thinking that you may have gone a little too far. You gotta just keep going and remember that nothing smells as bad as cowardice. Look, it's just music. One more thing to enjoy in life. If you make something that you honestly believe in, there is a chance that someone will join in and be pleased for a minute and a half. Oh! And my friend who didn't get The Smiths? He loves them now and denies that there was a point that he didn't. It's so annoying."
DOC HAMMER – "When we started on this record, I wanted every instrument, every note, every breath to have a desperation. We wanted it to be brave and just lay it all out and go 'This is exactly what we like… I hope one of you agrees with us.' Ya know? We wanted to make a classic, and not some smarty-pants release that critics and hipsters chew up and spit out, but a thing that delivers its milky payload for years to come. Not everyone wants a shower of WEEP's pearly idea of drama, but for those that do, we wanted Alate to deliver. I think it does."
From the dark, yet strangely upbeat pop sound of the opener "It's So Late", all the way through to the ballad-like closing track "Alate Ardor", WEEP infuses Alate with a dramatic new energy and assertiveness.
WHAT THE PEOPLE ARE SAYING:
"Hammer found his voice on Alate. What was once a somber murmur has become a growl that confidently pilots the drama within."
"The choruses explode with almost radio-ready hooks…"
"Unashamedly dramatic. In fact, I'd call 'cinematic' in the way it plays with the dynamics of the chorus and the use over the top orchestral elements."
"They (Weep) have become a confident band this time around."
"Broadening their musical palette, Alate pays off with more clarity at every listen…"
"…Confident enough to be beautiful."
"It's as strange as it is refreshing. I was reminded of the first time I heard Placebo or Smashing Pumpkins and thought 'Do I even like this? Hmm. I think I do.' Ultimately, I'm just happy that it's not one more singer trying to be someone else. That's a refreshing breeze when you concede that most of the vocalists in this genre are content to drone on with one robotic note so they can play Ian Curtis make-believe."
"(Alate) brings new moods and styles to Weep's repertoire. Some of the material has the familiar, drum-driven gallup of Worn Thin, but with this release it expands into other pastures that maybe a Mazy Star would have fed upon…"
Though Hammer still obviously hearts 80s British guitar rock (Echo & the Bunnymen, House of Love, Chameleons), for this record he adds good old fashioned rock muscle, a la Love-era Cult. So while the record luxuriates in epic psychedelia like "Cant Be True," "This Stolen Moon" and "Drift Towards Home," it finds its inner arena rocker with "They All Denied," "Halved Heart" and "Lies Like Prayers." If that sounds like a calculated balance, it certainly doesn't come off that way - Hammer merely puts everything he likes into his songwriting machine and unselfconsciously spits out widescreen winners. Melodic and powerful, Alate finds Weep coming into its own as boisterously as possible.
One of the most noticeable changes is the vocal work of Doc Hammer. While he had a melodic singing voice that was able to capture your attention, on 2010’s Worn Thin he was often drifting in and out of the background often letting the instrumentals take over. On Alate he sounds much more comfortable and has taken command of the music, often soaring over the rest of the arrangement and stealing the spotlight. This change works incredible well for Weep, as it gives Hammer the opportunity to demonstrate the range that he has and gives the songs an amount of energy and power that the previous material was missing. Post punk and synthpop has a bit of a tendency to feature one-dimensional vocals that drone on, so this helps the group to stand out.
As if to follow the lead of the vocals, the instrumentals have also gained additional depth. While Weep was already quite good at generating some dreary hooks, on Alate they often create soaring melodies that stink listeners in. The instrumentals have managed to balance equal amounts of post punk and synthpop, ensuring that there is still some of the gothic dreariness while still having the level of hooks needed for a good pop track. Additionally, each song heads in a different direction from the last ensuring that each of the eleven songs has a feeling of its own. One moment Weep might go full synth and channel as much 80’s influence as possible, while the next they’ve decided to let the guitars lead and gone in a different direction. The variety makes this a release that is easy to listen to from beginning to end, and despite trying new things the songwriting remains consistent.
Weep was already a pretty strong band after the release of their debut, but they’ve managed to take some major leaps forward on Alate and have found the combination of styles that suit their ability. Doc Hammer has matured as a singer and sounds much more comfortable than before, and as a result I think Weep will begin to gain notoriety on their strengths as a band instead of just grabbing people who are familiar with Hammer’s work on The Venture Brothers. Good work gentleman, and here’s hoping you can maintain this level of quality moving forward. -Chris Dahlberg
"Halved Heart" contains what might be the most dramatic chorus on Alate. An almost orchestral and just short of bombastic layering of harmony guitars, keyboards and it sounds like the ebow comes out for a bit of sustained drifting melodies. There's something recalling Hawkwind in the Xenon Codex era here. On "Lies Like Prayers" those who may have asked the unlikely question of what Requiem In White might have sounded like with Billy Corgan in the lineup get their answer. There is some similarity between Doc Hammer's vocals on Alate and Mr. Corgan's but with a hint of Brendan Perry. "I hate singers. They're these overly confident douche bags for the most part." Doc Hammer is quoted in the press release, but he does more than just dig into the vocal chores here. His vocals have an emotional roughness to them that is very compelling.
"Drift Towards Home" recalls Requiem In White's phrygian mode orchestral evocations, but transcends what a lesser song writer would have done with it in twisting shifts in modality that bring the listener back to the starting place with a dramatic inevitability. In fact, most tracks on Alate are rich with such subtle but effective elements. There is a maturity in the song writing throughout Alate that shows that Weep do this for the love of their art.
The production of Alate is tight and repeat listens are successively more rewarding. While people are justified in awaiting the next season of the Venture Bros. with great excitement, Alate deserves to be heard. This is a the work of an artist hitting his stride with the help of musicians who are equal to the task of delivering the well developed material of this release.
The cover of the Bauhaus classic "The Passion Of Lovers" is muscular and driving. Just as faithful as it needs to be, keeping all the personality of WEEP. No mean feat. It is a testament to Weep that a cover of such a classic track is not the highlight of the album. From the chiming guitars and chorus that stays in the brain on opening track It's So Late to the resounding bass, strumming acoustic guitars and majestic balladry of closer "Alate Ardor" there simply is not a weak track. This record is, according to Doc Hammer "not some smarty-pants release that critics and hipsters chew up and spit out, but a thing that delivers its milky payload for years to come." An alate is a young future queen of a social insect like ants and termites that has wings so it can fly off and establish a new colony. We can hope this is a metaphor for the stage of Weep's career Alate the album represents. Rating: 4.5/5
While not bringing a dramatic change in songwriting or style, Alatedoes herald two significant adjustments to Weep’s delivery. Firstly, the gauzy sheen of keyboards which has ornamented Weep’s songs so well has grown even grander and more complex, as on “Halved Heart”, which weds a brisk post-punk tempo to cinematic sweeps (perhaps bringing White Lies to mind). Some deftly-executed string arrangements also working their way in, which, in retrospect, were perhaps nibbling around the edges of sophomore disc Worn Thin‘s wintry moods. Secondly, Doc has allowed his voice to become substantially more unhinged and wild, regularly flying away from the controlled, nicotine-dusted baritone he’s carried through most of Weep’s material and into restless yowls (“It’s So Late”) and desperate shrieks (“The Stolen Moon”).
Both of these elements collide in the revisiting of “Can’t Be True”, a bleak break-up tune that’s one of the band’s earliest. The track’s reprisal on Alateinitially sounds like a bleary, stripped-down 4am home recording, only to build and build over its seven minutes, timpanis and violins making shit nigh-Wagnerian while Doc screeches bitter recrimination into the wind: “So many things I’d rather do / With anyone / Just not with you”. When I first heard this song four years back I’d never have guessed it could be transformed so radically, but that’s a testament to the passion and confidence that’s on display on Alate.
The drama doesn’t start and stop at “Can’t Be True”, though, no siree Bob. Take Weep’s cover of “The Passion Of Lovers”, which surfaced online about a year back. Given their extant covers at that point – a smooth and nodding revamp of Jesus Jones’ “Right Here, Right Now” (“Yarr, now there was a band. Yeppers, back in the summer of ’91, we all thought they was gonna be the future of rock n’ roll.”) and a no-frills rock take on Rihanna’s “Shut Up And Drive” – I was initially surprised by the selection of a track by that most famous of goth bands and how close it hung to the original. Amidst Alate‘s stormy climes, though, that read scans perfectly: the choppy acoustic guitars brush back against the song’s famous chorus, accented by some barked backing vocals. Alateain’t goth rock in the strictest sense, but there’s plenty here for those with MAC platinum cards who’ve been tracking Doc’s music over the long haul.
It’s not all wrist-stapled-to-forehead antics, though. As mentioned above, there are some punchy cuts like “They All Denied”, where classic post-punk rhythms get drizzled with warm synths, the nostalgic “It’s So Late”, and the almost humbly resigned “Lies Like Prayers”, with its simple bassline and plaintive “My wish just couldn’t be” refrain.
Upon revisiting Worn Thin and debut release Never Ever as prep work for this review, I was struck by how swiftly and cannily Weep had established their sound on those records. Full of familiar elements and welcome romantic indulgence, it’s still a very distinct and immediately identifiable template that Weep have developed, and the tweaks made to that template on this new release stand out all the more for that. Bit by bit, Weep have honed their game, until the pull-no-punches strength of their attack can’t be denied. Alateis a record that sets itself up as a grab for the big brass ring, and delivers.
| 9 out of 10 | This is the first time in writing a music review that I am speechless. Not so much that this is some ground-breaking cd or anything negative, I am just stunned that this cd is out this year, this is just inspiring to all bands to not be afraid to delve into the past. This sounds like a cd that could have been all over the original 120 minutes in the 80’s and been flying off the shelves. For Weep, this is their best release to date but it is nowhere near Doc Hammer’s earlier gothic bands Requiem in White and Mors Syphilitica. While always being compared to bands like Sisters of Mercy (which if you do not have Vision Thing in your library then you are truly missing out) and Loveless era My Bloody Valentine, this sounds like old school alternative rock. This sounds like the cd to listen to after you play The Cure or Jesus and the Mary Chain.
Songs like The Passion of Lovers the Bauhaus cover, comes across as almost Joy Division esque or maybe a strong nod to Bauhaus, while other songs come across with a lot of reminiscent vocal sounds that can range from anyone in the 80’s or 70’s alt rock scene. This cd had so much familiarity to it, but I felt this during my first time listening to it. This cd goes from goth to a layering of keyboards and harmonizing guitars that almost sound like they were inspired to bring back yesterday’s cool.
Like the cover song, this cd is faithful to the goth and alternative scene and still keeps the personality that old school fans of Doc’s and Weep’s will be happy that they kept. The shocker was as great as the cover song was to me, this whole cd is a highlight that one song does not stand out as much as the whole cd does. This record is, according to Doc Hammer “not some smarty-pants release that critics and hipsters chew up and spit out, but a thing that delivers its milky payload for years to come.” Quite the statement that this cd does deliver on each track.
We live in a society that have this definition of music that music stores are called ITunes and that bands who are not on tv do not matter, and I think Doc’s husky vocals and the punk mixed with catchy 80′s bass-lines/synths that this cd for any serious music fan is a must. WEEP has created a dark yet satisfyingly upbeat pop album that fans of any band I mentioned in this review would cream over. This is just such an epic timeless cd that now I have listened to it at least three or so times, I cannot get it out of my head. This could have been Flesh for Lulu’s follow up. (That is such an interesting reference, because if this cd did not make me think Echo and The Bunnymen and The Cure started a super group, it sure did remind me of Flesh for Lulu). Where the formula for today’s music is hear it today and it is forgotten today, this is a cd that will get your attention and make you remember it. Projekt has created some interesting music that defies a genre and really is respecting the music fan so much. After listening to this cd I am going to play some Sisters of Mercy and The Leather Nun. God, do I miss the 80’s alternative music scene. This was a highly recommended cd.