Weedpecker - III,
Weedpecker is a Polish band from Warsaw. Its history goes back to the year 2012 and the release of demo EP. Back then and to this day the backbone of the band are brothers Piotr and Bartek Dobry. From the first album the band made a name for itself in the “stone rock” circles; however, even then there were echoes of things to come. As can be heard in the progression of the albums, there are more and more of elements of psychedelic, space and progressive rock. Piotr “Wyrosław” Dobry - the leader of the band, acknowledged this in the interview for the Soulstone Gathering portal that took place before the release of “III”: “[…] our musical tastes are continuously evolving. There is a strong pull into psychedelic as well as into to progressive rock, and we love to go in this direction.” The album Weedpecker III certainly gives ample evidence of such progression.
As the name „III” suggests it is the third, full studio album by Weedpecker. The album was released in January of 2018 by the label Stickman Records of Germany - a home, between others, to bands like Elder, King Buffalo, Mos Generator or Motorpsycho. Based on the aforementioned interview, the band resonates especially well with Elder as they seem to be on a similar musical path and already performed along them several times.
The album was recorded by the following line-up: Piotr Dobry (guitars, vocals, synthesizers), Bartek Dobry (guitars, vocals, synthesizers), Grzegorz Pawłowski (bass) and Robert Kułakowski (drums). It is comprised of five (5) tracks ranging from 6 and a half to 10 and a half minutes, totaling slightly over 42 minutes.
The first two tracks Molecule (7:05) and Embrace (8:59) start off slowly, almost relaxingly, and develop as they go. For the beginning of Molecule, a wailing guitar and synthesizer’s mellotron sound in the background are the signatures with an ethereal vocal joining in. At this the vocal is buried a bit in the music and functions equally well as if another instrument were added. Then towards the middle of the track the music intensifies slowly with some heavy riffing and more dramatic vocal. The Embrace also starts softly with the vocal more pronounced here and in the accompaniment of guitars and background keyboards. It transforms earlier with intensified riffing and guitar solos in the middle instrumental passage, to slow down towards the end. If I were to use an analogy for both tracks, it would be pretty much the one of a river’s flood water rising slowly, intensifying as it rises and, as it does, looking for ways to find a way in, and with a culminating wave eventually arriving and taking over.
The next two tracks are Liquid Sky (6:33) and the longest track on the album From Mars to Mercury (10:36). To use the previous analogy, both tracks begin here in a reverse order starting off with the culminating wave level and easing off as they go. This particularly applies to Liquid Sky with the fantastic instrumental passage going from the middle of the track to its end. There the tempo is dictated by the fast beat of the bass guitar with “liquid sky” guitar solos and a fabulous ending of the track with the intricate interplay of bass and lead guitars. From Mars to Mercury being the longest track has a bit more freedom for expression and the moods. It starts off intense with the guitar lead, riffing, mellotron sound and vocal joining in, to ease off in the middle, and pick up intensity again towards the end of the track.
Lazy Boy and the Temple of Wonders (8:50) is the last track and in a way encompasses both styles of the previous 4 tracks, that is, softer beginning and end, with a peak in the middle. It is definitively the most laid-back track, or as the title suggests “lazy” track, but musically all described styles are here. A distinctive feature of this track is a spoken commentary in the middle of it.
What can one say in the summary here? Words will never describe accurately the music as each one of us has a different perception and musical tastes. Nevertheless, I was totally “floored” by this album and this despite the fact that I have been familiar with the band from its first proper studio album and even went back to the earlier “Demo EP”. With this album Weedpecker breaks down any preconceptions one may have with bands labeled as a “stoner” band. As mentioned in the beginning, the band expands its musical palette beyond the “birthmark” of stone rock with elements of psychedelic, space and progressive rock, and does it exceptionally well. Even though the album has been released in the beginning of 2018, it has stayed at the top of my best 10 albums of that year and it is always a pleasure to go back to it. If there is anything amiss there it would be the fact that lyrics is not included with the album. Perhaps it’s just me but I like to follow what a given song is about without too much strain and distraction from the music. However, this does not take anything from the music. Anyway, there is nothing that will substitute a listening experience so I heartily recommend to give the album a try. Album “III” and band’s previous albums are available at the Weedpecker’s bandcamp website: https://weedpecker.bandcamp.com/album/iii
Hope you will enjoy the Weedpecker’s “III” as much as I do.