III by WeedpeckerRelease date: January 5, 2018
Label: Stickman Records
First impressions are important. I came across with the name Weedpecker on the Stickman Records website. I fell in love with the artwork (kudos to Maciej Kamuda!) and was extremely intrigued with the name. I knew the right thing to do was to listen to the album.
When I saw the name Weedpecker, I just thought to myself “Meh… just another stoner rock band”. I mean, there are definitely stoner rock elements on III, the usual elements when people think of the genre: the heavy dragging riffs, harsh vocals, pounding drums. However, Weedpecker are not “just another stoner rock band”. It’s quite a limiting label and not enough to describe what happens in these 42 wonderful minutes.
TL;DR: This will figure upon my favorite records this year.
Full story: From the moment I pressed play and heard the first notes I knew this was a special record. It felt familiar and, at the same time, refreshing. I was immediately surrounded by the beautiful atmosphere they created. I’ve had this record in constant rotation and have listened to it in different moods and settings. I’m constantly discovering new little details that make me love it even more.
There’s no doubt III was inspired/influenced by my favorite release of 2017, Elder’s Reflections of a Floating World. Much like their label mates, the soundscapes are airy, light but intricate and a lot to get involved and lost in. There are only five songs but they all take their time in building up, settling in and unraveling.
Not knowing Weedpecker previously made me go back and discover their past two releases (Self-titled and II). Easy to say they challenged themselves with each release. The progression has been massive.
This group of songs sound the most mature and complex when compared with their previous releases. The band got more in touch with their experimental side and stepped it up several notches and better mastered the craft of incorporating melody and layers in their sound. As mentioned before, there’s also the no sense of rush and the songs have loads of breathing space and take as much time as they need to reach perfection.
Technique is also a crucial part of any great album and is in no way lacking on III. The guitars stand out. This album is guitar heaven. So many beautiful harmonies, melodies, layers, the use of pedals. On the other hand, vocals usually take the back seat. When they make an appearance, they are another beautiful layer. Angelic and ethereal are great words to describe them.
As a whole, this album is beautiful and blissful. I usually dive into describing individual songs but this time it doesn’t even make sense. There are no “weaker” or “filler” tracks. All of them work well together and it wouldn’t make sense if one of them wasn’t part of this album.
III checks all the right boxes: there’s melody, heaviness, riffs, guitars galore, beautiful vocals, imagery and so much more yet to discover. It is that kind of music that evokes feelings and takes you places regardless of the mood you’re in or where you are. It also has me thinking that it’s only January and already I know for sure this is a contender for album of the year.