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The Sidekicks - Weight of Air (Cover Artwork)

The Sidekicks

The Sidekicks: Weight of AirWeight of Air (2009)
Red Scare

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: FuzzyJustin
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Weight of Air starts out with the incredibly off-key wailing of "Let It Breathe" -- not the band's finest hour on first spin. Nonetheless, it's incredibly reminiscent of the opening track on The Greatest Story Ever Told and as many consider that the Lawrence Arms' finest work I expect this album to .
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Weight of Air starts out with the incredibly off-key wailing of "Let It Breathe" -- not the band's finest hour on first spin. Nonetheless, it's incredibly reminiscent of the opening track on The Greatest Story Ever Told and as many consider that the Lawrence Arms' finest work I expect this album to be received in a similar way. The album is a huge step up for the Cleveland band -- they've outgrown wearing the punk rock influences on their sleeve and instead have crafted a sound that they sound far more comfortable with. Here they stand out from their peers, crafting their own sound by weaving together the poppy aspects of mid-'90s alternative radio fare with the crunchy grunginess of "midwestern rock" like the Replacements and the Weakerthans' faster moments. Tracks like "Looking for Love" are so incredibly catchy you're going to wish this had come out in May so you could spend the whole summer singing it. There's a feeling of '70s garage jangle in some of the songs -- it's not overwhelming, but it's there. The gruff affectations from the band are gone -- what bit of gravel there is left on this record feels natural and well-placed. Any folk ramblings the band might have feel more Weakerthans than they do Chuck Ragan.

But as good as the music is -- and make no mistake, it is simply amazing -- no band succeeds on technical competency alone. Thankfully, the lyrics cash the check the music writes. There's little, if any, attempts at overt political stylings here. Instead you are met with incredibly heartfelt and intricate lyrics with booming choruses and sing-alongs. This is an album whose lyrics, when read on paper, aren't intricate and long-winded; they're simple, to-the-point and sound best when wailed over top of the intricate and catchy music laid down on this disc. Nowhere does this wailing sound better than on the title track "Weight of Air"; after its intense, Fugazi-esque buildup, you can hear the vocalist's voice start to warble just slightly and you just absolutely love it. It's just slightly off-key in the right way and would have been so easy to cover up, but it's there, and that moment helps to make that last song feel so much more triumphant than it would have otherwise.

Describing music that isn't simply a clone of other bands is hard -- fairly impossible, in fact. While Weight of Air is no genre-defining masterpiece it definitely is a breath of fresh air in its scene. It's more rock than it is punk, without being quite as self-conscious as a band like the Hold Steady. In fact, it's far more enjoyable because of the simple, raw ethic that shows through on this record. Refreshingly, there's no drunken punk rock worshipping or overdone production here -- it's just four kids from northern Ohio making music that they'd like to listen to.

Highly recommended. I'd say it's the best album I've heard this year -- punk, rock or otherwise.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Menzingers - Chamberlain WaitsThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Dear Landlord - Dream HomesDead to Me - Cuban BallerinaThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldThe Sidekicks - Sam [7 inch]The Lawrence Arms - Buttsweat and Tears [7 inch]The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundThe Sidekicks - Awkward BreedsThe Menzingers - On the Impossible Past

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
devianter (February 26, 2011)

lame

matty87 (January 6, 2010)

i like the album but i dont understand how the lyrics "looking for love in all the wrong places" is being ignored by everyone as a total rip off willie nelson

mikeladwig (December 16, 2009)

i lied. looking has a weak chorus that feels imposed onto a good song.

the rest of the album is neato

mikeladwig (December 9, 2009)

"Looking" isn't so damn catchy as much as a weak hook with dismal lyrics.

This album is incredibly average and such a step down from their first, which I realllllly loved.
I don't say this just cause they changed their sound, I just think their songwriting devolved a little too much.

diggs6990 (November 2, 2009)

I hear the lead singer is a good kisser.

14theroad (October 12, 2009)

The cover reminds me of Idle Will Kill.

name (September 29, 2009)

don't get all the hate for this record, its catchy as fuck. the most dynamic thing red scare has released in a while...excepting possibly american rubicon. possibly.

chokingvictim (September 28, 2009)

great record. this has separated them from just another good catchy punk band to something better.

i have high hopes for their future work. also, amazing dudes to hang with.

KevinH (September 24, 2009)

So, am I to understand that this is "intricate" then?

But anyway, I enjoyed the music but I thought the lyrics were a major miss.

punkengineer (September 24, 2009)

Yeah, I found the vocals kinda annoying. The lyrics weren't anything special. At sometimes they seemed a little cliche to me. I tried to give this record a second chance after everyone was giving it high scores but it is still pretty boring. Nothing special, but not horrible.

EZ3 (September 24, 2009)

Sooooooooooooooo boring. Now I know I'm not going to the show.

LawnDay (September 23, 2009)

Can't hang with the vocals. I'll try it again in a day or two maybe.

eatdogs (September 22, 2009)

this album is fantastic. i really can hear all the influences throughout.

Babrook (September 22, 2009)

Weight of Pears/Weight Of Chairs/Weight of Nair/Weight of Bears

lessthangene (September 22, 2009)

not what i was expecting, but still phenomenal. i love seeing Cleveland bands doing great things, and these guys are one of the best.

Kolen009 (September 22, 2009)

I really can't get enough of this record.

10-4Eleanor (September 22, 2009)

Great record!

telegraphrocks (September 22, 2009)

I imagine the cover-art to be 3-D.... I hope I'm right.

thoughtriotaf578 (September 22, 2009)

i was a little dissapointed with this album, i was expecting it to sound more like the sam 7". getting past that, it's really good.

maxstern (September 22, 2009)

this record rules. so proud of these kids, and they are 4 of the nicest dudes ever.

but who cares about the music. score is for giving me a "thank you" on the cd insert.

sloanedaley (September 22, 2009)

dang I just started writing a review for this, what I get for being slow.

IanIsSuperRad (September 22, 2009)

Record is phenomenal. These guys deserve so much success.

thepopeofchili-town (September 22, 2009)

That was supposed to be a 4, not a 2.

thepopeofchili-town (September 22, 2009)

Great Album. Fighting with Fake Problems and Cobra Skulls for my favorite punk record of 09.

OverDefined (September 22, 2009)

I love this record.

quoteunquoterecords (September 22, 2009)

What the fuck is Blackjaw talking about? This album is inarguably great, it's always nice to hear a basement band make a record that sounds like it could fight the big boys n girls on the radio. Well done sidekicks.

xshoutoutx (September 22, 2009)

....NEED to check this out as soon as I no longer have to steal wireless connection!

Blackjaw_ (September 22, 2009)

One of my favourite songwriters ever releases a relatively boring album, lyrically and musically. Big disappointment. I don't mind departing from the punk sound at all, in fact I'd encourage it, but I don't like the direction they chose to go. Steve's solo stuff (available here: http://cultureasgiven.blogspot.com/2009/07/steve-smith-sidekicks. html ) isn't punk or energetic, but still amazing musically, and then this... isn't.

DarrenMcLeod (September 22, 2009)

Very, very good album, although for some reason is one that I really have to be in the mood for. It's strange.

Great lyrics too, by the way. Pretty amazing what this band is doing at such a young age.

Dante3000 (September 22, 2009)

Wow, I thought this review would be more towards the top. A thoroughly rocking record. Maybe it just resonates with the 90's alt rocker in me.
-Dante

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