Post-punk was bred sometime during the latter half of the ’70s. A sort of antithesis, the subgenre harnessed the frenzy of punk rock and spurted it out with white-noise clamors and industrial clangs. In 2013, the lines between genres are vanishing, yet one steadfast truth remains: genres, like movements, are bred from disillusionment and discontentment. The call and response to injustice is a sign of the times.
Movement is conjured from confinement, and New York-via-San Francisco trio Weekend has produced their latest, Jinx, as the meticulous response to confusion and existential questions. While that aspect of analysis drives it, the album doesn’t rely exclusively on a single theme, and isn’t a concept album by any means. Lyrically, the record touches on everything from losing loved ones, to the evils of the world, to embittered surrender. Jinx sharply departs from 2010’s amp-shattering Sports, which had even less of a narrative.
Take note: Weekend is not The Weeknd. If you’re seeking stylized electro bounces, go to happy hour. Weekend works through melancholy and meticulously plunders through noise. They admit, confess, and deal with emotional strife, instead of masking feelings with grooves that sway.
The first thing you hear and feel on Jinx are the echoes. Swathes of industrial noise wash under lapping vocals. The assault comes in bursts, instead of consistently attacking your eardrums. Jinx is no trick; it’s a treat. It’s concise and claustrophobic, yet expansive in its emotional and instrumental breadth.
Although it’s far from a shoegaze record, Kevin Shields is the guardian angel hovering above the shred and swells of “It’s Alright”. Shoegaze has a tendency to linger, and sometimes rely on volume to carry a message, but the textured focus of “It’s Alright” is a gorgeous example of Jinx‘s tautness and exemplary handle on noise’s potential to enhance a feeling, rather than a gimmick to utilize solely for shock value.
Where many noisy albums falter is in their hindering allegiance to their influences. Weekend keeps their heroes on their sleeve, yet simultaneously doesn’t sound like anyone you’ve heard before. Notable post-punk forefathers, Joy Division and Deftones amongst them, are nestled somewhere underneath the surface. Though not immediately identifiable, Jinx feels familiar, like you’ve run it through your hands before.
The sparse, largely instrumental moments present in “Rosaries” expel barrels of tension, particularly through its meaty basslines which keep the listener riveted to their seat. Nothing needs to be added or taken away on this record.
Yet that completeness doesn’t stop “sick” from being a word that consistently pokes through the gloom and grave guitars. Opener “Mirror” blurs and refracts while vocalist Shaun Durkan keeps the vocals low and menacing: “I feel sick, sick, sick in my heart.” We often think of hearts as broken, but the thought of a sick heart takes on an entirely different meaning. There’s a blackness that Weekend attempts to expel on Jinx, one that’s especially explicit on songs like the reeling “Adelaide”. Durkan murmurs “I want to save you from the world” like a mantra, as though he’s convincing himself as much as us that there is still safety in this world.
Still, we like things that mimic darkness. There’s a thrill that danger gives us that nothing can replicate. Jinx is more than an account of feeling lost and lonely, a feeling that’s been felt many times before. The record hits you in the spaces you didn’t realize were blank, like that moment that is the sliver between thought and expression. Jinx is a catalogue that accounts for not just the high but the come-down of love, the morning after when the light is stale, and the confusion that comes along with trying to make sense of anything at all. As Durkan murmurs on closer “Just Drive”: “It doesn’t mean a thing.”
Essential tracks: “Mirror”, “Adelaide”, and “It’s Alright”