Weep Wave – S.A.D

Weep Wave’s 2019 album is such a wonderful gem, one that I’ve found myself constantly getting lost in with every listen. S.A.D. is full of garage-y guitars with a modern psych twist ala King Gizzard. It’s folk-tinged rock with the absolute capacity to rock emotions. Inspired by ‘seasonal affective disorder’, this record goes through a wide array of textures and emotions. All in the service of expressing an entire spectrum of sadness, with ties and references to climate change, gentrification and the seasonal shifts in the Pacific Northwest’s weather.

The album opens with a calm and mournful tune in “Columbia Calling”, a folky prelude with harmonica and strings about someone being called back home while also dreading it. “Welcome Home” affirms this dread with a 180 shift in  volume and tone, in this track our narrator is bombarded by the rapid pace of city life and the anxiety it brings. “Downtown” follows with a zoomed-in perspective on the people being crammed by their jobs and deadlines. A sunny and bright rock tune with a slightly more subdued angst.

The next section calms down a little, and we see the first shift in the albums ‘seasons’. “Raindrop Thoughts” is an introspective walk downtown while the sky is drizzling, while “Cat Nap” is a nice jam to relax with when the day’s about to end. A brief moment of respite.

The next shift is on the B-side where the spine-chilling rock songs come, and where my favorites in the record show up. Living in the pandemic years, songs about anxiety and feeling cramped in a narrow way of life feels pretty relatable. “Concrete” gives off that claustrophobic feeling with its utterly gorgeous drum and bass lines being choked by rapid dissonant riffs. “Sea of Faces” goes crazy with the feedback and the tempo changes. The end result is a raving, groovy rock tune with a balanced share of the weird and familiar. 

By this point I realize why psychedelia feels so poignant in our bizarre world. With so many changes in our lives brought about by technology and climate, the unexpected and bizarre becomes more real. Such is the feeling I get from “A BreakUp Song”, a great marriage between punk and all-out noise rock where the riffs go on a rumbling tirade. My favorite track goes to “Hum of the Powerline”, a modern work song that hearkens back to the haunting feeling of the first tracks, an anthem for those who find themselves being reduced to cogs in an industrial machine. S.A.D. ‘s inspiration might be taken from the band’s hometown, but the feelings being expressed here are universal, and very apt for our own times. Highly recommend.

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