The Weakerthans’ latest album, “Reunion Tour,” takes the listener on a shuffling journey through 11 generic songs and finishes with an altogether forgettable effort. “Reunion Tour” could be considered the “Brushfire Fairytales” of the indie genre. There are a few songs you really like, none you really hate, and they all sort of sound the same.
“Civil Twilight” opens the album on a strong note. With Weezer-esque vocals and a quick tempo, the song could easily be at home in a Volkswagen Jetta commercial. This song will probably be the one MTV grabs in the coming months to up their indie cred.
“Sun in an Empty Room” has many of these same qualities, although it’s less upbeat. The mopey lyrics beg for a montage of someone picking up the pieces of their life after a breakup. Maybe they’ll use it on “The Hills” this season.
Vocally, The Weakerthans sound a bit like a poor man’s Modest Mouse, but don’t expect the same wit and range. The Weakerthans breathily plow through lyrics that don’t quite make sense and are certainly not clever. A song will meekly make its way through the listener’s ears, bring no attention to it, and suddenly your eyebrows will raise when you hear the word “retard” or “queer.”
The song “Virtue the Cat Explains her Departure” especially exemplifies this. Seemingly told from the perspective of a cat, the song creepily lilts along, not telling a clear story and apparently not having much of a point. If the cat’s departure is an analogy, it doesn’t come across at all, and the listener will inevitably realize they don’t care about the singer’s cat. The end result is reminiscent of Angela from “The Office” talking about her cat parties.
Another lyrical tragedy is the last song on the album, “Utilities.” If a country singer crooned this sappy mess, it would be number one on CMT. With childish lyrics like “I wish I were a toothbrush so someone would use me,” the song twangs through clich