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Worn Thin, the first full-length from NYC's WEEP, takes their aggressive and firmly pop-structured songs to a place of heightened grandeur. Sweeping choruses, horn-driven verses, and lush production work seamlessly with WEEP's guitar and drum-driven sound. At times the listener is reminded of The Head On The Door-era Cure enjoying the strange bedfellow of Catherine Wheel or Placebo. WEEP's pilot, Doc Hammer (incidentally the same Doc Hammer who co-created Cartoon Network's The Venture Bros.), brings his uniquely raspy vocals to the front on this release creating a bizarre but not unfamiliar kind of New Dark Pop.
On Worn Thin, WEEP maintains their hard edge and generates a sound filled with loosely-bridled emotions and powerful rhythms. Doc explains: "This is the record we wanted to make. It's almost like a reactionary antidote to what we're sick of in music. That dry, low-tech production of the past ten years is tiring. It's in its footy pajamas, and it needs to take a nap. We wanted something lush and dramatic for the songs on Worn Thin. They usually relegate that kinda over-the-top production to Lady Gaga. But believe me, it works really well with a messy little band like WEEP."
"It was fun pushing these songs to a place that most bands would feel goofy pushing them to," Doc continues. "The vocals have three- and even four-part harmonies, which for a guy with my brass pipes, is no small feat. And we have string and horn sections that push the material right over the cliff. But at the same time, when we approached the guitar-heavy songs, we backed off all the bells and cranked up the amps. I guess we just took each song on its own and did everything in our power to present it the way we heard it in our heads. But we left out my mom telling me to take out the garbage. I have no idea why that's still in my head."
Songs like "Snow Scenery" and "The Time I Thought That" are almost radio-friendly guitar powered hits, aggressive in their approach to song-writing and performance. While songs like "Calm Down" and "Over Now" take that same approach and push it to dramatic and lush heights that the "radio" will never be comfortable with.
"I've been creating music my whole life," Doc states. "I keep going back because it's a challenge. Making a CD isn't easy. It takes your heart and ego and mashes them together into a paste that people pick up and throw back at you. It's not 1978, and nobody does this crap to be a rich rock star. Those days are over. I do it to make something that I love and find beautiful. And I want others to understand and fall for this beautiful thing, then be inspired to go and make their beauty, whatever it is... I don't mind if they just listen to Worn Thin while they clean their bedroom, as long as that bedroom sparkles when they're done!"
"I hate to mention that I'm the voice of Dr. Girlfriend, or I make The Venture Bros. Makes people think WEEP is some vanity project or something. But I've been in bands and have been releasing CDs long before there was a Team Venture. Listen, if you really want to be confused, look for my oil paintings online. Yes, I'm a guy that decided free time and a functioning social life are overrated. It's a kind of an art-martyrdom... Somebody has to do it."
As a testament to their idea of redefining pop-music, WEEP concludes Worn Thin with covers of Jesus Jones' "Right Here, Right Now" and Rihanna's "Shut Up And Drive" with a refreshing lack of irony. As if WEEP is just saying to the listener: "This is how those songs should go... You might like it our way."
It is possible that you might stumble upon New York’s Weep because their vocalist/guitarist is Doc Hammer who is the co-creator of The Venture Brothers on Adult Swim. However, don’t expect any crossover between the projects. Weep’s new album Worn Thin reveals them to be a mixture of indie rock with some dark/new wave influences. This proves to be quite the interesting combination, and while you’ve heard some music that sounds like this before the album does stand out.
The way in which keyboard and guitar melodies are combined really helps to add texture to Worn Thin, and makes it evident that Weep has been influenced by a lot of the dark/new wave bands from years past. However, despite the fact that they wear their influences on their sleeves these guys don’t sound dated at all as they have some killer grooves that create a dreamy atmosphere. At times I’m reminded a little of groups such as Placebo, but Weep finds ways to make their instruments stand out from the pack. There isn’t a boring moment on the album, and when the group decides to cover “Right Here, Right Now” and “Shut Up and Drive” they put a fun spin on them.
If you’re familiar with Doc Hammer’s voice work on The Venture Brothers, you are probably unsure of what to expect from his singing on Worn Thin. As it turns out, he has a very smooth and relaxing voice that is a perfect fit for Weep’s dreamy arrangements. While he doesn’t vary his pitch as much as he does in his voice acting, the style that he does use is very strong and will surely please anyone that gives the disc a chance.
You can probably already tell, but I am quite addicted to Worn Thin. There’s just something about these songs that makes me want to return to this disc time and time again, and it seems likely that anyone who enjoys alternative rock and a little new wave will feel the same. Perhaps in the years to come Doc Hammer will be just as well known for his work with Weep as he is for The Venture Brothers. http://www.projekt.com/ Chris Dahlberg September 06, 2010
You may have thought that Weep was just a one hit wonder. You were wrong. Worn Thin is the new album from the band and it’s wonderful.
The first three songs are absolutely golden, beginning with the glorious rush of “Snow Scenery” and its superb synth melodies and even more subtle and spooky synth bits peeking in during the chorus. It’s the kind of song you adore immediately and which just improves with subsequent listenings. “Let Me” continues the sensation of running through the woods that Siouxsie and The Banshees and The Cure captured so perfectly. It features another splendid synth melody that grabs hold of you and does not let go. The fade out ending is so enticing it makes the entire song better. The arresting electronic drums at the beginning of “When I’m Wrong” sound even cooler when followed by twangy guitar and yes, electronic violins. The synth melodies are once again, stunning, and there is an instantly addictive chorus that somehow gets better the more you hear it. One might think that in the midst of all this lush, exquisite beauty, Doc Hammer’s gravelly, robotic voice might seem anachronistic, but the contrapuntal effect is actually quite perfect. His singing is higher in the mix than it was on Never Ever and the songs are better for it. “A Reminder” slows things down a bit, with a dreamy and romantic Cocteau Twins sensibility and poignant lyrics, while “The Time I Thought That” is heavier—even dirty-sounding—with fantastic percussion and feedback and guitars that push close to the edge of noodling (in a good way). It actually rocks, something I never thought I’d think about a Weep song.
“Over Now” and “Calm Down” are a bit slower, sounding more like the songs on Never Ever. Initially, they felt like a bit of a letdown after the first five tracks on this album. Yet they’ve grown on me; both songs are quite good, with the former evoking Disintegration-era Cure and finishing off with a grand symphonic ending and the latter showcasing some great guitar riffs and vocals. There’s even a revamped remix of “Ever Shy” where its lovely acoustic guitar opening gets a bit more focus as the percussion drops out. “Worn Thin” is something of a revelation, featuring an Adam and the Ants-style drumbeat and guitar with synthesized clarinet sounds. And “Interlude” is the most experimental-sounding music we’ve yet heard from Weep, with weird sonar waves pulsating through a thick sludge, almost like a creepier version of Japan’s “The Experience Of Swimming.” By the end it transforms into something almost approaching orchestral.
Worn Thin is compelling proof that Weep is not some group of hipster New Wave wannabes, but a band that deserves your attention. And definitely your love.
The songs have a lushness to them that makes the album deceptively easy to get lost in. “Snow Scenery” opens the album with thick, almost shoegazey guitars that push the song forward while Hammer’s gravely, layered vocals bubble up around you from all sides. “A Reminder” is another warm, textural experience that swells up slowly, starting with an underwater sounding bass line and building the song piece by piece until it becomes this drifting, atmospheric thing. That feeling is reproduced on “Calm Down,” where a gently repetitive guitar and sweeping synths create a serene, floating feeling.
As a surprise, there are also a couple of covers. The band lends their ethereal sound to Jesus Jones’ “Right Here, Right Now,” delivering a version of the song that manages to be faithful to the original while adding Weep’s own twist to it. More surprising is the cover of Rihanna’s “Shut Up and Drive” (which itself has a very strong New Order vibe to it). While the lyrics don’t exactly mesh with Weep’s dense sound, they play the song without irony and do their best with what they’ve got to work with.
As an album, Worn Thin is an incredibly rich and warm listening experience that feels tailor made for those cold Fall days. If you stumbled upon this album because it had Doc Hammer’s name attached to it, then consider yourself lucky. For everyone else out there, just sit back and let Weep wrap you in a blanket of lush, synthy goodness. – GREGORY HEANEY