Free and legal MP3 from the Weeks (young Southerners with classic chops)

“Buttons” – The Weeks
     This one teeters on an unexpected edge–between swagger and vulnerability–and pulls it off for no fathomable reason. I mean, the Weeks are five guys from Mississippi with an average age of 18; they have no particular business sounding so sure of themselves (without being obnoxious), never mind writing such a well-crafted song, never mind having figured out how to channel the best energy of straight-ahead classic rock’n’roll while sounding like neither a nostalgia trip nor a snore.
     Maybe the key to this song’s power lies in how well the chorus works both soft and loud. The first time we hear it (1:22), it comes after a lengthy instrumental crescendo, featuring 20 straight seconds of rat-a-tat drumming, building and building towards…an apparently quiet chorus, with singer Cyle Barnes using the cracked and drowsy side of his vocal style. The chorus is then repeated, much the same way, although now the surging drumbeat returns, and then we get yet two more repetitions, at full volume–Barnes now singing an octave higher and with a barely stifled scream in his delivery. The melody and the words somehow match both moods. And what a melody it is–there’s something deep and classic and surprising in it, like a power pop sheep in bar-band wolf’s clothing. Barnes attacks it with gusto and pathos each time, those final words–“Take a look at what we had”–sounding more and more heartbreaking as the song unfolds.
     “Buttons” is from the band’s debut CD Comeback Cadillac, released in July on the Jackson, Miss.-based label Esperanza Plantation.

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