Watching a zeitgeist try and describe a new band you haven’t heard of can often feel like comparing prospects at the NBA draft. When Zion Williamson was about to get drafted first overall a row of talking heads on ESPN spurted out their different comparisons for what NBA player Zion’s career might resemble. They said he had Larry Johnson’s game, early Blake Griffin’s athleticism, Charles Barkley’s spark, and more than anything people said he’s the next LeBron. And yeah, you get where they’re coming from and understand their arguments all well but when you watch Zion play he doesn’t really remind you of LeBron or any of them at all, and it ultimately just feels unnecessary to compare him to anyone when you can just bask in his unique greatness.
Swedish emo band Weatherday’s debut album Come In is shaking the deck in the lo-fi rock scene in the same way that Zion shook the ACC last season. It was released with little fanfare back in April and has slowly but steadily been growing a cult following. Nearly every one of the now fifteen hundred reviews on ratemymusic.com, where the album sits in the top twenty best reviewed of the year, compares it to Car Seat Headrest’s Twin Fantasy. TF is the album diehards consider CSH’s pre-Matador peak, and with everything on Come In from the near identical quality of the mixing to both hanging the emotional crux of the album on a ten-plus minute ripper it’s easy to see why the two are so often compared. That being said while it is abundantly clear that Will Toledo and Twin Fantasy were a major inspiration, Weatherday’s sound on Come In is varied to the point where comparing it to any one album or artist could not possibly do it justice. That and the album really doesn’t sound all that much like Twin Fantasy. Where TF is safely within the realm of what we call indie rock in 2019 Come In is decidedly an emo record. There are points where lead singer Sputnik’s vocals are masculine and abrasive in the way that The Brave Little Abacus was, and there are songs with feminine vocals like on highlight Agatka where Sputnik pipes up the reverb to make it sound like a chorus of Christine Goodwyne’s cooing into the night. Sputnik roars furiously here and is reservedly hushed there, hitting you with a wall of sound before dropping you off a cliff of silence, as the riffs cycle between twinkly and anthemic. Weatherday at times eschews traditional song structure in a way that reminded me a little of Connecticut DIY legends Queen Moo, where you don’t know the adventure the song is about to embark on until its finished and you’re trying to make sense of what just happened. That being said, all these twists and turns do not hurt the cohesiveness an iota as the tracks take on greater meaning in the context of the record.
The lyrical content mirrors Twin Fantasy to a degree, as both albums deal with a narrator trying to figure out what has gone awry in their relationship with a loved one. However, where Will Toledo is singing to one nameless person in particular the whole album, Sputnik uses a variety of characters from Oswald to Agatha to reflect about what won’t let Sputnik foster these relationships like they want to. Where TF is presented almost as a conversation between two people, Come In is a literal invitation into Sputnik’s inter psyche, and even when they talk about their issues connecting with loved ones the critique is all inward facing. While with a painter Sputnik seems to have some jealousy of the ‘life’ art leads, wishing to be a painted girl or a porcelain doll, seeing their humanity as a curse. However by the end of the album Sputnik realizes that while managing relationships with those you care about can be extremely difficult it is ultimately that which makes life worth living, as they sing on the closing Porcelain Hands, “ I would do anything for you // if it meant I’d get a small hint of warmth // Even when it truly felt like rooms got smaller.” This being an emo record it’s not surprising that much of the subject matter is pessimistic and self-deprecating but Come In ultimately feels like a life-affirming album. Sputnik was closed off in their room not letting anyone or anything in, hoping that people would observe them with delight and move on their merry way. But with just three knocks on the door and the trust to say “come in” Sputnik has freed themselves from their own terror by letting the world in to come see it.
Sputnik recorded Come In on Garageband on their iPhone in their bedroom and while the album is as lo-fi as GBV it is still pristinely mixed. On the record’s fourteen-minute opus My Sputnik Sweetheart a heavy riff opens the song leaving Sputnik to need to speak up if they want to have their voice heard, which they do. The song steadily picks up pace to a fervent swell before breaking back down for a full choir interlude, only to them build the swell back up for a hurricane of a close. It’s as ambitious as The Glow and as powerful as Beach Life-in-Death, as each individual section and the entirety of the song linger in your head simultaneously. This is definitely an album that rewards attentive and repeated listening with a good pair of headphones. While the record can seem abrasive at first, if you are willing to take the time to come in and fully appreciate Sputnik’s world you’ll be rewarded with one of the absolute best records of this year. Maybe the most remarkable thing about the record is where it took Will Toledo seven BandCamp albums before finally culminating in his opus Twin Fantasy, Weatherday is coming out the gate with a fully formed debut project where they try a hundred different things and do just about all of them well. Sputnik has already teased that new music could be on the way as soon as later this year, and the most exciting thing about it is I don’t have the slightest clue how that next record will sound. The sky is truly the limit for Weatherday, and I cannot wait for the next time we’re invited to come in to their world.
Go check this album out on Bandcamp, Spotify, and Apple Music, and if you are so inclined go buy some merch. More importantly go bug Anthony Fantano to review this record until he does!!! We need that light to decent 10 on his record books.
10/5/2019 UPDATE: Anthony Fantano came thru in the cobra clutch!! A Decent Seven is the new emo Strong Ten everybody knows that.