Music Review: Stranger Here by Weathered

Music Review: Stranger Here by Weathered

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Updated June 26, 2019
Music Review: Stranger Here by Weathered
Weathered - "There Is One" OFFICIAL VIDEO
Weathered - "Stranger Here" OFFICIAL VIDEO

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With three EP releases under their belt, Weathered have joined the Facedown Records family, adding a refined, superbly crafted debut LP to their discography. In their new album, Stranger Here, Weathered reveals perfectly counterbalanced subtleties of shoe-gaze with ample alt-rock allure. The sing-alongable choruses and cathartic vocal hooks, especially on songs like “Forget About Me” and “Lying In Wait”, give the album a relaxed, familiar feel.

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Stranger Here by Weathered
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This, like the recent review of DENS EP "No Small Tempest", is a release from August last year and it was at the time another new signing to Facedown Records. This, however, is a full album with 10 tracks and it doesn't exactly fit with Facedowns normal roster of heavier metal bands.

From the beginning of the very first track, it is made clear that this is not just a performance, this is an art. They are wanting to say things with a full range of emotional pull, so the reverb-filled guitar and eery vocal opening "Burn" makes this clear, before it bursts into life after the first third. These words will resonate with anyone who has been a Christian for some time, faced with changes in life that we see as detrimental we wonder where our good shepherd is, we recall past blessings but ask where have they gone and why we no longer see them! The song goes from eery reflection to frantically begging that the good things that we might not recognise won't be taken from us. There is an acknowledgement that a tough time is a time of growth as we can look towards the better days to come. "Lion's Den" gives the guitars more of a space to really be heard in the opening and there are a lot of subtle sounds in this track and once again the song reflects on our own thoughts of inadequacy for God's love and attention, but yet He still does consider us worthwhile! These are recurring themes that pop up again and again on the album, it's in the title cut of "Stranger Here", these guys seem to be bringing an honest wondering mixed with hope and faith, but no easy answers!

The guitars have driven things forward so far on this album but while they are still present in "There Is One" it is the solid drum and vocal that really takes front and centre. "The Secret Places of My Memory" is about the futility of continually revisiting the past, yes we need to learn from our mistakes, but we don't need to camp there and reopen the wounds, we have to accept them and change, sometimes even if we don't really want to! 

In grief we get stripped down to the core of who we are. "Blue Van" picks up on some of this as it considers in a sombre tone the death of others, our loved ones, those that we miss. It confesses that it's not a comfort to know that "Salvation is nigh" and sometimes we just want to cry out to God with the questions of how long and why? This is a song that is bare in it's exposed emotion and this is conveyed with the vocal accompanied by acoustic guitars. The story of "Forget About Me" doesn't really follow from the previous track, although it does seem to be about a relationship breakdown, and this can be like dealing with death.

"Lying in Wait" is definitely a song that many people will relate to, we make our commitment to Christ, we don't want to sin anymore, but we still do. So we feel guilty even though we know that Christ has paid for our sins with His death on the cross. The writer wants more proof of our redemption and I understand this question, but like anything we ask God for, we must believe that He is faithful to His word. This track has a heavier sound and this sound and theme continue into "Self-Deceiving Savior". In fact, thematically, it is this introspection of faith and belief that sees us through to the end of the album! "I Do Not Belong Here" brings a melancholy reflection on failings in a walk with Jesus, but also celebrates that when we get to heaven he will no longer feel like a stranger, but like a child coming home.

This album is full of poetry, there is a lot of wondering and lament with some sombre tones, there are questions that are legitimate to ask and there is hope, but it's only peppered through this album. It doesn't feel like the band has all the answers to the questions that they are asking, and that's OK because how many of us actually do? Why should some guys pretend to have all the answers and everything together, instead we can join them in the journey knowing that we are not alone in the struggle. That in itself brings its own comfort.

Musically these guys have an alternative / indie sound and they push these definitions in some of the songs, sometimes it comes out as that shoegaze style as well. Having listened to the album it doesn't sit alongside the styles of some of the other Facedown releases, but I can totally see from this why Facedown signed them up. There is some serious talent in this four-piece from Minnesota!

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