The Weeping Willards - Crazy People
Start at the beginning. The opening track "We Must Be Crazy", starts with almost a capella vocals before slipping into a jazz groove, punctuated by a few chords from a rock guitar, leading into a chorus dominated by the sound of an electric piano like some modern ragtime, and then goes into a spoken word jumble. Just where are you going to start with that and, more to the point, where are you going to end? You will not have time to settle before "People I Know" starts off with a piano line which reminds you of something like Edward Scissorhands with vocals to match, only to find there is a good deal of male harmonies in there, sometimes backed by what seems like sleigh bells and then slipping into café society talk with a gentle piano and a recorder. Finally, you are taken off by a marching band to the credits of the film.
That track has a quality which is almost anthemic, both in terms of its execution and conception. It is certainly the high point of the EP. Not in the sense that the EP goes downhill from there, but insofar as it sets the tone for wehat follows, which will lift you and soothe you as the mood takes it. For example. Immediately after the rousing ending of "People I Know", "Madeleine" comes along as a smooth, quieter ballad, dominated by a piano, the exact antithesis of what went before. And then, as if to remind you that they are still there, "A Long Year" begins with volume and crashing sounds before gently dropping to an almost-Supertramp type of gentility which carries you through the remainder of the track until its "Noo Yoik" jazzy ending.
The final two tracks are something different again. "Printemps Again" features close male harmonies, sometimes sung in French, over a single, gently plucked guitar. "When I Die" is a gentle number which allows the band to make use of a variety of instruments and sound effects.
If originality and aptitude alone made successful groups, the Weeping Willards would have a fantastic career ahead of them. The problem they will encounter, I suspect, is that the majority of people lack either the intellectual capacity or the patience to let this EP grow on them. This EP takes time to appreciate. It is not going to instantly grab you, but with each listening, new vistas will unfold. It may be that, after listening to it a few times, you decide that you don't like it. Fine. At least you will have come to that conclusion after some thought and appreciation. But when you first hear it, it is an EP which makes you want to hear it again. And if that isn't the mark of something interesting, then I don't really know what is.
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