Gun Control (Green Burrito/Cruising USA)
At first blush, there’s a faint whiff of amateurism about Weed’s Gun Control EP, something that has a lot to do with the bratty band name, homemade-looking cover art, and sludgy, lo-fi production. Dig into these four songs, however, and you’ll find complex and well-written tunes that prove that the dudes in Weed are anything but hacks.
Gun Control clearly wasn’t designed with audiophiles in mind, since its guitars are permanently in the red and must compete for space with pounding drumbeats punctuated by frequent bashes of tinny cymbals. The vocals, meanwhile, are relegated to a background role, with the lyrics all but inaudible thanks to seasick mike static. But despite the sonic chaos, the melodies shine through. “Ben’s Tour”, the EP’s far-and-away highlight, begins with sprightly guitar chords that sound like they were ripped straight from the intro to Pulp’s “Disco 2000”. This similarity is quickly undermined by squealing feedback and surging punk rhythms, and the song unexpectedly morphs into a gloriously triumphant alt-rock anthem complete with cathartic yells and a head-banging instrumental outro.
Weed’s marriage of murky fidelity and pop precision is an impressive feat, especially since the band manages to pull it off without sounding anything like distortion-obsessed contemporaries such as Wavves or Times New Viking. With a bigger studio budget, the tracks on Gun Control could easily pass for long-lost ’90s radio hits. As they are, they sound like righteously badass demos, and that’s more than enough to get the point across.