Weston - This Is My Voice and This Is My Heart: Live at Maxwell's [12 inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


This Is My Voice and This Is My Heart: Live at Maxwell's [12 inch] (2009)

Black Shirt

Having grown up on Long Island not in Pennsylvania, and being probably four years old when this band even formed, I completely missed out on Weston. So you're getting this from a pretty--well, completely--unbiased perspective. The Bethlehem, PA act, if you're going by This Is My Voice and This Is My Heart, apparently played simple, catchy, rough-edged punk songs at a melodic, mid-tempo rate. And they played them well, as documented by the hefty set on this live album from New Jersey venue Maxwell's.

Of course, the highlights here are the tracks from 1996's Got Beat Up, which many fans apparently consider their best work. Set opener "Retarded," despite its title, finds the band sounding just a tad despondent and all the more heartbroken as a result. It works for them wonderfully, but even when they get a little scrappier, like the pre-One Man Army-isms of "Teenage Love Affair" (also from Got Beat Up), it's nicely playful and rugged.

The band's in-between banter should elicit, at worst, smirks, like the members' enthusiastic inquiry prefacing "Mr. Lazo": "Who's 'G' to 'P'? Who's 'G' to 'P' or 'D to P'?" It's like a much less perverted play on another certain bro-ism. That song, in particular, lifted from the band's debut, 1994's A Real-Life Story of Teenage Rebellion, has all the dragging, distorted guitars of a later Jawbreaker song, though the multiple vocals make it Weston's own. (And there's a bassline in "No Kind of Superstar," from Got Beat Up, that definitely sounds "Want"-ish.) "Pucker Up Baby" has an amusing request for PBR put into a brief melody aping the Star Wars theme, while the band almost get into the full groove of "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" during the pre-"New Shirt" introductions. Closer "Two" is incredibly subtle, with emphatic vocals assisted by a sparse guitar strum and the crowd's loosely shouted accompaniment; while there's a little awkward sloppiness just before the bridge, it's a heartwarming way to end the show.

Other scattered highlights include "Just Like Kurt," a Rebellion cut permeated with "a-ee-yeah-ee-yeah"s, and the effortlessly simple chug of "New Shirt," which the joyous Maxwell's crowd sings along loudly with, doing the first part all themselves. It segues perfectly into "Heather Lewis," too, one of the set's more rambunctious, catchier and energetic numbers.

If you're in desperate need of an introduction to Weston, it seems you'd probably want to go to Got Beat Up, but this mildly entertaining and certainly sprawling live set isn't a bad bet either.

Feelings Stupid Feelings
Little Mile
Mr. Lazo
Just Like You
Just Like Kurt