“Five years have past; five summers, with the length/ Of five long winters! and I hear/ These waters…” Like Wordsworth said in “Tintern Abbey,” things change. Now it hasn’t been five years since the last Weakerthan’s album (it’s only been three), but a lot has changed since then. I can no longer return to the place where I was when I first heard Left and Leaving. I am not in high school, I no longer listen to Mineral, or Sunny Day Real Estate, or Twinstar. I have grown up, so how can I possibly enjoy their new album, Reconstruction Site, like I did when I first heard their last one?Well, The Weakerthans, like I, have changed. Gone are the punky poppy reneges that wrote about bombing public buildings. With Reconstruction Site we find the band with a newer countrier edge. Steel guitar is their newest weapon in their increasing pop arsenal. Their lyrics are less political and deal rather with relationships and scenes from childhood.
The album opens with “(Manifest)” a song that sounds like it is trying to rally troops to over take something, but there really is nothing to take over. The Weakerthans are older, they don’t rebel because they know that there is nothing to rebel against so in the end they end up staying on the curb next to a girl doing nothing.
The main problem with the album is the fact that lead signer John K. Samson seems to rush through every single lyric. This makes the entire album seem rushed, especially when the vocals are the only structure to the song as is the case with “(Hospital Vespers)” and “(Past Due)”. And guys what is with the parenthesis? Are we to believe that these songs aren’t really songs? Are we just going to gloss over them? Hey the lyrics are great John, next time please take the time to sing them like you like them.
Sorry for that rant. But all in all this album is good. It is hard to go back to your high school days and listen to the music you listened to then. Luckily The Weakerthans have changed like I have. And luckily the record songs like, “One Great City!” where Samson sings, “I hate Winnipeg.” And you have to love the slide guitar on “A New Name For Everything.”
Basically my Tintern Abbey has been reconstructed to fit my needs of today, now if only all my favorite bands would do that (Imperial Teen I am looking at you!).