The Weather: Aroha Ave (Powertools)

 |   |  1 min read

The Weather: Ask Anyone
The Weather: Aroha Ave (Powertools)

The singer and songwriter behind the Weather is Matthew Bannister, formerly of Sneaky Feelings who drew their inspiration and aspiration from the pantheon of classic pop (Beatles, Beach Boys) and reputable country (the Louvin Brothers). And that meant they were isolated in the middle of Velvet-influenced bands and noisy neighbours on the Flying Nun label.

After three fine albums the Sneakies were no more (the other songwriter David Pine went on to Death Ray Café et al) and Bannister formed the short-lived Dribbling Darts of Love. He also joined Don McGlashan’s band and in 2000 wrote his band-biography about the Nun years in the very readable, take-few-prisoners Positively George Street.

This year he released Moth, lo-fi but melodic home-recordings under the name One Man Bannister -- but now comes this fully fledged album with his current band the Weather.

Bannister’s direction remains unwavering: crisply delivered, melodically memorable pop lightly embellished (here a trumpet, there a saxophone, backing vocals where necessary) and the musical references are much the same: solo McCartney (especially in his post-Beatles domestic phase), a bit of country consciousness, a Lennonesque touch on Keeping in Practice . . . 

In a sense Bannister’s ambition seem more modest than in the Sneakies and this album -- full of domestic and suburban detail (clothes lines, barbecue, a television show) -- comes off as much more relaxed: there are comfortable strums (Middle of the Night written by bassist/singer/wife Alice Bulmer, Don’t Even Think About It), vocals of the unashamed “do-do-doo” kind, and Keep in Touch could have slipped of McCartney’s first solo album. (Or if you are less charitable London Town.)

Treasure Island is a poppy romp (think a rather more chipper Bats) which drips a little acid on reality shows contestant in search of fame, and later the happy couple sing about living in Sandringham (with only the slightest hint of cynicism) -- but Ask Anyone is the standout: a slightly eerie, distant but emotionally engaging piece that is the equal of anything he has ever written.

Some may find this lightweight -- it does err from light touch in that direction -- but Bannister is long used to that comment (and worse).

What is here however should find its way to radio (in the best of all possible worlds, I have to add) and in the long run that is where he always wanted to be.

Ain’t nothing wrong with that.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Arcade Fire: The Suburbs (Merge)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Arcade Fire: The Suburbs (Merge)

The first film by many aspiring directors is often a low budget affair about hookers, junkies or/and zombies. Being young they believe there is drama (or at least cool dress-ups) in these worlds --... > Read more

Father John Misty: I Love You, Honeybear (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

Father John Misty: I Love You, Honeybear (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

Before we even address the music on this new album by Josh Tillman (aka FJMisty) who was previously in Fleet Foxes, let's just tip the hat to the value-added packaging here. The gatefold sleeve... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST PHOTOGRAPHER JULIAN REID with a photo essay of characters in London's Brick Lane

GUEST PHOTOGRAPHER JULIAN REID with a photo essay of characters in London's Brick Lane

Julian Reid is a musician, graphic designer and photographer who has lived in London for 10 years. A sample of his downbeat/chill music is available for free download from Deep East Music... > Read more

Dennis Bovell: Mek It Run (Pressure Sounds)

Dennis Bovell: Mek It Run (Pressure Sounds)

For a very long time from the mid Seventies bassist/producer Dennis Bovell was the go-to guy when British artists wanted an authentic deep dub sound. His work with poet Linton Kewsi Johnson has... > Read more