The Weeks, out of Mississippi, aren’t your father’s southern rock band. You can catch bits of boogie, shards of blues-y vamps in the corners of this hard-charging debut, but infused with a desperate, angsty energy that’s almost punk. Consider the title track, track, a staccato barrage of shouts and dual guitar riffs. There’s a manic, terrified edge to singer Cyle Barnes’ voice, as he yelps and sprays the words, a wreckless surge forward in the drums battered about by his brother Cain Barnes. Guitar riffs start and kickback like machine guns, two of them, locked in combat (Sammy D on lead, Chaz Lindsay on rhythm). It’s an impressive show of force, and when the whole thing judders to a halt with the observation “Girl she was gone and my heart stopped beating,” you feel like you’ve been through a wringer.
The tension abates considerably in the ballads—“Teary Eyed Woman” and “Dog Days”—where Barnes chews and slurs the words until he begins to sound like Adam Durwitz of the Counting Crows. But even sensitive songs can catch fire, as when “Buttons”’s refrain of “I shake, I shake, I can never see, how good young love can be,” blossoms from a confession to a thundering rock chorus. The first half of the record is better than the second, with a good deal of meandering near the end. But it’s hard to resist the crowd-rallying swagger of “The House That We Grew Up In” with its chorus “Oh-oh, let the band play.” Who’s going to stop them anyway?