Le Weekend's Suite | Record Review | Indy Week
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Le Weekend's Suite 


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In the economical four-and-a-half minutes of "Rock, Staple Scissors," Chapel Hill quintet Le Weekend glides through three distinct but related sections: The first is jerky pop bliss, a take on '80s radio shimmy assisted by big synthesizer stabs and synchronous guitar slices. The beat quickens, shaking itself to death before delivering the song into part two, a tonally rich psychedelic smear. It sounds like the instrumental portions of Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here played with unequal doses triumph and levity. An acoustic guitar eventually emerges from the mess, and an electric soon follows its lead. The beat—sleigh bell jingles into perfect snare and cymbal circuits—tightens around it. Much like the way jazz instrumental "Not Sport, Marital Art" sat in the middle of Jim O'Rourke's emotionally torturous EP, Halfway to a Threeway, this easy third part delivers the track into a placid calm, a respite from the furious motion and tension it chased.

All of the track's sections teem with motion, too, multiple melody lines and rhythms wrapping around and into one another. Similarly, each song on the appropriately entitled six-track, 20-minute Suite moves and winds constantly. Opener "Spread Yr Mind" seams from sharp post-punk to somnolent drift to acoustic trot, while "Behind Me with Silence" springs from overwrought ballad-belting to the disorienting groans and arrhythmia of a small marching band ignoring its conductor. Somehow, though, it maintains the warm allure of complex pop music. That is, it's invitingly diverse, not esoterically so.

In lesser hands, these quick flashes of ideas could become either haphazard jumble or precious, prog professionalism. But Le Weekend's core is strong and familiar, born of incestuous music circles and too many projects to name: Singer and guitarist Matt Kalb played with drummer Robert Biggers in Audubon Park for the last four years, for instance, and bassist Bob Wall and Kalb played together from 2002 to 2006 in Hotel Motel. Wall plays drums with Soft Company, whose frontwoman, Erin Ridings, plays keys and sings in Le Weekend and is married to guitarist Ben Ridings. Kalb also plays in Soft Company. The songs mirror their makers, then: They are, in the end, manifestos for dynamics, misdirection, reassessment and—above all—making life's most striking and sudden stops and shifts work. An intricate, intriguing little thing.


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