pacificUV: Weekends

The stately winter mood evoked by Longplay 2 has given way to the lullaby dreaminess of Weekends, trading post-rock for shoegaze. The results are often excellent, though the record isn't without its missteps.



Label: Mazarine
US Release Date: 2012-01-31
UK Release Date: 2012-01-31
Artist Website

The perplexing but somewhat inspiring cover art for pacificUV's sophomore record Longplay 2 has always somewhat confused me, but at the same time the artwork does reflect the quality of the music within. The record's stately, epic brand of post-rock recalls an overcast winter landscape. In particular, album opener "Alarmist," with its dramatic, ringing chords, practically forces the listener to imagine a snow-capped horizon. Longplay 2 was a fine record, but it seems that the band isn't content to stick to one genre, no matter how good they are at that type of music. With Weekends the band has left behind the frigid winter of Longplay 2 and has crafted a record that evokes a hazy, dream-like state. Post-rock has left the building, and its slightly older cousin shoegaze has now entered.

From the beginning, it’s quite clear that Weekends is a substantially different record from its predecessor. After an elliptic opener in "Friday Night Dream", a memorable synth riff kicks in, placing the record in electro-pop territory. This is the main riff of the album’s lead single "Funny Girl", which sets a pretty high bar for the rest of the record. The song is likely to be a sleeper hit, but hopefully it gets wider attention. Lyrically, the song is simple enough, as the song is about what the title states: a funny girl. The chorus is simple, but highly catchy:

She’s a funny girl

In a well-torn, wicked world

And I know that

If she’s falling down

I’m falling down

2012 may have just begun, but given how good it is, “Funny Girl” could stand to be one of the year’s best singles. Hopefully, the album’s second single is the wittily titled “Be My Only Shallow Love,” which expertly layers a distorted guitar atop a subdued drum beat. Interestingly enough, though, the band doesn’t decide to take the rest of the record in that direction. The remainder of the album is more reflective of the album’s brief first track rather than its brilliant second. The results overall are good, though not all of the album’s Nyquil-drenched shoegaze works.

The band has been described as "a psychedelic Jesus and Mary Chain tripping on NyQuil", and while that statement isn't entirely true, the latter bit of that sentence is quite accurate for Weekends. Much of the record might actually put people to sleep. "Baby Blue," for instance, is so murkily lethargic that my eyelids began to droop only 30 seconds into the song. It’s not just Nyquil that the record’s sonic landscape recalls. The emotional “High” repeats lament “I get high off you,” over and over, and the results do sound like the result of a particularly cathartic high. That track is especially good in its balancing of that "high" feeling with a reflective orchestral sensibility, which turns the song's simple lyric into something much more poignant. Unfortunately, not all of the record's tracks are as good as "High" in creating an entrancing shoegaze mood; "Baby Blue" and "Going Home" don't just sound sleepy; they actually are, and they cross the line from wonderfully relaxed to dreamily boring.

Those sleepy tracks aren't the only misstep on the record. The use of the vocoder, while somewhat befitting to this type of music, is used rather strangely here. "Ballerina" mixes a highly robotic (read: grating) vocoder with an insistent bassline and textural electronics, sounding something like Daft Punk crossed with My Bloody Valentine. The song doesn't really work, and it clashes with just about every other track on the record. Album closer "Unplug Me" uses the vocoder better, but only slightly. A brief listen to "Ballerina" makes one wonder why the band didn't stick to the electro-pop that they did so well on "Funny Girl."

Nevertheless, Weekends is an overall success for the band, and a good showcase for the band's ability to change between genres effectively. As a result of the genre change, it's natural that they wouldn't get everything right, but what they do get right is well worth a listen. At the very least, Weekends is proof that the band can write one positively killer song, which is true, but the record is more than that. The grey skies of Longplay 2 have dissipated, and the pastel blue skies of Weekends are now in plain sight: a fitting way for pacificUV to begin 2012.


In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.