Song: Humanity Band: One More Weekend Release: We Used To... Area: Melbourne Date of Release: 27th July, 2017 Genre: Alternative Rock Reviewer: Kalten Norris FFO: Foo Fighters, Kisschasy, Fall Out Boy Next gig: Friday, 6th October, The Central Club, Richmond 8:00pm
One More Weekend were formed in early March 2015 in Melbourne’s Eastern suburbs and includes front man Connor Dougan on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Leith Dougan on Bass , Tim Aslett on lead guitar and Paul Healey on Drums. Working on Connor Dougan's original songs the band crafted and mastered their current style of alternative rock.
Whilst gigging regularly OMW completed the tracking, mixing and mastering for their first full length debut album. Engineered and mixed by David Carr at Rangemaster Studios (Kisschasy - Antiskeptic - Delta Goodrem - Guy Sebastian) and mastered by Martin Pullan at Edensound Mastering, the 12 track album titled “We Used To…” was released back in April 2017.
With a recently purchased tour bus and three completed videos (with another three on the way) the band plan to tour Victoria and the Eastern Seaboard that will also include a return trip to SA.
Pictured: OMW obviously very busy practicing
It's not quite summer yet in Australia but that doesn't mean the sound of summer is absent in the music scene - One More Weekend takes what I imagine to be the musical concept of a relaxed weekend adventure with a couple of beers and good friends and runs with it, to great effect. Initially I was supposed to only write about the track "Humanity" but very quickly expanded the scope of the review as I feel there's too much to say about this band to just cover one song. This is my take on the release and the band as a whole.
Breaking down the track "Humanity" is simple, there aren't any curveballs thrown your way musically which makes this track very easy to consume and the musical and vocal melodies stay with you in a pleasing way from start to finish. The contrasts between the soft, calming verses and the melodic swells in the chrouses give the song a great sense of purpose and flow. When the song kicks into high gear in the second half the leadwork is reserved enough to not overpower the rest of the track but adds a beautiful, soaring feeling as the track progresses towards the end. The overall sound of the track sits right where it needs to be; if this track was on in the background I wouldn't be surprised if it imbued a friendly and chilled vibe to the party. If you sit down with a pair of headphones and listen to the track on your own nothing is lost from the experience.
There's a great interaction across the album between drummer Paul Healy and bass player Leith Dougan which helps provide a solid foundation for guitarists Tim Aslett and Connor Dougan to add a glassy, effect-driven clean flavour over the top. Connor also provides the lions share of vocals with the other stringed instrument players providing some great backing vocals which creates a sense of separation between the instruments and the vocals themselves. What I like in particular is that this track and others translate quite well to a live situation. While I couldn't find any live videos for "Humanity" I did listen to other tracks that were recorded live and that same summery, chilled out energy is just as present, if not more so. The live video of "Colourful Things" shows that when these guys get up and play live, it makes people want to get involved and dance along, something that Connor is more than happy to encourage which is great to see. I feel Connor definitely knows how to get people to resonate with the band and their music.
Speaking more broadly about the album, the engineering and mixing by David Carr and mastering by Martin Pullan really helps mesh the individual instruments in each track together in an even and musical way. Sometimes you can get a more barren, dry mix from a first release which can leave you wanting more complexity in the arrangement - not so with One More Weekend. Everything is cleverly thought out and has a specific role to play in creating a sweet and vibrant soundscape. You're introduced to the album with the opening track "Boxheads" which takes the softer energy of "Humanity" and transforms it into a much more energetic, pop-punk feel but with a cleaner edge during the verses, letting the choruses generate a ton of energy to hammer home the melodic qualities of the band while having a more boppy, driven rhythm section. Again, the song doesn't over complicate itself with unnecessary sections or lead-work; everything is exactly where it needs to be and has a specific purpose in the song.
While the majority of this album has a fairly positive sound to it, other tracks like "De-icing My Car" present a more minor timbre - another track that stands very well on its own with it's own particular sound, while other tracks such as "Generation" have a harder, more driven edge to them which again adds another dimension to the overall sound of the album. These differences really help break up the release into smaller chunks that are easier to digest than if the entire album was comprised of a single sound spread over twelve tracks. While much of the album has a lot of energy to it, other tracks such as "Cover Talk" and "Lost at Sea" are much softer, utilizing more acoustic guitar and less of the full band sound, letting the vocals take you on a more relaxed, somber journey while the music is more reserved. Overall I feel the album likes to stick to what it knows is going to work and doesn't like to venture too far from that solid foundation, so you know what you're going to get within the first 3-4 tracks while still giving you enough variety to want to listen all the way through.
Speaking to the band, I was curious to know about their influences and how they created such a lush sound. I was lucky enough to speak to Connor over his lunch break and he explained that the band had expanded upon his original works which he had spent a considerable amount of time producing on his own, and in creating these tracks he was strongly influenced by a wide range of musical styles. Connor went into detail about his influences such as Phil Collins in his younger years, and then Kisschasy, Linkin Park, Foo Fighters and other similar bands during his teenage years, and more recently his influences have expanded considerably, something I suspect will give way to more diverse sounding songs in future releases.
Connor explained that his lyrical content draws in part from his real world experiences, in particular that "Humanity" was an important track for the band. "That's an extremely important song to us. I wrote that after watching the news one time, I got annoyed at the way they continually showed brutality and violence and everything that's wrong with the world and then towards the end they would give you a tiny little nice story to get you back on board". I feel he has struck a great balance between leaving his lyrics open to personal interpretation and investment while still being able to talk about his own perspective on the concepts he covers.
At some point while listening to "We Used To..." I feel like this stopped being a cut-and-dry review of an album, and more an expression of my appreciation for this release and the great accomplishment it represents; I think the song "Generation" was the one that really won me over. More and more these days, bands are releasing content right away that in my opinion matches or even exceeds expectations, and raises the bar for their competitors, and I feel One More Weekend has really achieved this with their debut album. For me it's rare to stumble upon something like that and I'm glad I found this band and had the opportunity to speak to them in such detail about their creative process and influences. I would definitely recommend checking the album out and if it's something you like, buying a physical copy of the album or turning up to a show really goes a long way towards helping a band get back into the studio to create more content for their fans.
I'm really excited to see what their next release contains - One More Weekend have built themselves a solid foundation which they can expand upon for years to come. In my opinion, they're a great example of how a first album should be released - a band to watch out for in the future!
Vocals: 9/10 Guitars: 9/10 Bass: 9/10 Drums: 9/10 Lyrics: 10/10 Effects: 10/10 Mixing: 9/10 Songwriting: 10/10 Personal Enjoyment: 9/10