The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday March 21st

Hard Rock Leanings Mar Local Favorite's Red Eye Debut

Three Stars

Crafting its sound and reputation as a great live act, Weekend Excursion's spirit and style are muddled by its debut album on the Red Eye label, located in Graham.

Even with same catchy lyrics and Sam Fisher's embracing style of delivery perfected touring, the album falls flat.

Many of the songs on Take Me Home are overpowered musically and don't allow the lyrics to breathe. The lyrics become stifled and hidden beneath the hard guitar.

They also seem derivative of other hard rock songs, leaving you wondering if you heard the song on a radio station boasting hits from the '80s, '90s and today.

Although a majority of the songs are bland, a few shine, including "Best Friend," "L.A." and the title track. These songs seem to embody the band's style -- teetering on the verge of being alternative but still clinging to laid-back rock.

Besides the absence of the band's normal style on Take Me Home, so is the violin player Mike Ferry, who left the band in 2001 after getting married. The songs lack the violin solos of previous albums, so the band stocks up on guitar riffs and gives the songs less distinction. The violin fit Weekend's funky style more than hard rock guitar, which reduces the originality of the band.

The thorn in the side of Take Me Home is the sugary sweet "Theory of the Kiss." Describing the moments leading up to a first kiss, the song is juvenile and is reminiscent of a preteen's diary. Although love is by no means a new subject to Weekend's songs, the lyrics and Michael Bolton-esque music is enough to give you a toothache.

The album departs from the corniness with the following track, "Liberty." With driving drums and an upbeat tempo, it is a welcome relief from the preceding song. The winning streak continues with "Take Me Home," which slows down and showcases the band's intimate lyrics and melodic sound.

The song is a more mature look at lost love, with the lyrics, "It's midnight and everything's gone now/ Hasn't been too long since I had everything I wanted/ They said it wouldn't last; it was stolen from my hands by my past/ And I wish I could get it back now."

Take Me Home then delves back into the mediocrity of the guitar-ridden songs, including a "secret" song, No. 11.

The exemplary songs are few and far between, and the band's style is smothered by an overload of guitar. Press releases quote the band as stating that the album does differ from its previous self-released ones, but fans might be troubled by the band's excursion into harder rock.

If Weekend Excursion could capture and maintain the style of its live shows and funnel that into a studio album, the effort would be a welcome relief.

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