The Weight’s new album is titled, “Are men.” Indeed, they are. This is manly country rock, sung mostly by Joseph Plunket, whose voice has more bottom than a fat girl on a mechanical bull, and played by a rough-and-tumble bar band. The opener, “Like Me Better,” ends with a sizzling guitar solo that segues nicely into the explosive barnburner, “Had It Made” (which sounds slightly like The Grateful Dead’s “Alabama Getaway”). The album is cleaner, and better produced, than their first—they seem to have abandoned their punky ways for a more classic sound—and it’s a lot less serious. But it’s still tougher-than-most Americana, featuring solid songwriting and great musicianship.
“Closer Than a Friend,” a ready-for-radio single, complete with catchy chorus and a universal theme (unrequited love), is the kind of song you want to hear live, with one hand on a glass and the other around your girl’s waist. The slower numbers work well, too, such as “Johnny’s Song” (although I could have done without the 6+ minutes of “Sunday Driver”), leading to a great country record for fans of rock and roll. Get it if you dig Whiskeytown, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, or Lucero.