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Greg Weeks - Blood is Trouble

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Artist: Greg Weeks

Album: Blood is Trouble

Label: Ba Da Bing

Review date: Jan. 25, 2005

Singer-songwriter Greg Weeks scored big last year with the success of his psych-folk project Espers. The group’s self-titled debut album was a charming sprawl of warm melodies and intricate finger picking that recalled the lush brilliance of the Incredible String Band. The record’s release coincided with the underground’s obsession with the growing “freak-folk” movement, making Espers into kings of the new scene. Due to Espers’ success, there is far greater anticipation surrounding Weeks’ new solo disc than ever before in his career. Yet, while Blood is Trouble is a rich and rewarding album, those looking for more backwards-gazing folk are in for a surprise. While it probably will be lazily classified by many as a folk record, the album’s thick blankets of instrumentation and chamber-pop aesthetic reaches far beyond the traditional singer-songwriter kingdom.

Long plagued by agonizing tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome, Weeks was forced to fight through his pain in order to record the album. But instead of composing a set of sullen songs, Weeks instead focuses on moody yet ultimately heartwarming tunes. Utilizing his considerable production skills, he wraps each song in layers of acoustic and electric guitars, organ, drums and vocals. The result is simultaneously touching and powerful.

Opener “Day For Night” balances a swaying melody atop chiming acoustic guitar licks and a heaving hum of keys. “Dusted” starts off as a tender duet, with acoustic picking and guest Margie Wienk on cello, before Weeks unleashes a fiery electric lead. “Eyes Arise” is a tear-jerking, ’60s-style ballad with Weeks’ strongest vocal performance.

Since the mood of the record remains reflective throughout, the songs occasionally blur into each other. Yet, the instrumentation and musicianship remains top-notch, with a buoyant bass line or touch of strings regaining the listener’s attention whenever it starts wandering. While Weeks sometimes let’s his influences shine through, (“Cold Light of Quiet,” though a top song, wears its Leonard Cohen influences a bit too proudly), more often than not, he maintains a level of originality rare for such a young artist. Born as it may be of depression and pain, Blood is Trouble nevertheless is a charming pop album that reveals more of its carefully crafted brilliance with each listen.

By Ethan Covey

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