Years before keyboard-backed pop-punk bands like Motion City Soundtrack and Mêlée were gaining national attention, a humble quartet out of Pennsylvania decided to do something different. After two highly-regarded and fast-paced pop-punk releases á la early Blink 182 on Go-Kart Records, the band literally turned its sound upside-down, much to the chagrin of their loyal fans.
The result was catastrophic for Weston. They threw in the towel shortly thereafter, and have remained in almost complete obscurity ever since (try googling "Weston"). Luckily for us (those who didn't jump the bandwagon when Weston departed from their established sound), Weston left us with one final gift: The Massed Albert Sounds.
I have no words to start this song / But I bet you'll sing along / Stand up straight and listen close / `Cause I just quit rock and rollThe opening line says it all. This was an entirely new path for Weston. Although they didn't really "quit rock and roll" (the album is still very rockin'), The Massed Albert Sounds is a mood-swinging yet cohesive homage to loneliness, frustration, and unattainable dreams. While they do succeed on two of the slower songs, "Kiss Like an Angel" and "Volume Hater" (which begins with a beautiful a cappella intro), the vocals are usually not strong enough to hold up. Clearly the best songs on The Massed Albert Sounds are closer to the punk that they once embraced, songs like the beautiful and touching "Liz Phair," and "Summer's Over," which brings a tear to my eye nearly every fall.
This album is highly recommended for those in the punk scene who are looking for a band that was ballsy enough to try something different, even if it meant alienating most of their fans in the process. The Massed Albert Sounds is tightly-knit with thoughtful lyrics and imaginative musicianship, and undoubtedly one of the best releases to ever come from Mojo Records.