That The Weight sounds so fully realized should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen Caddywhompus perform in the last year, as the songs from their new EP have been popping up in live sets as early as last summer (the melody and refrain of “Age Of Wild Spirits” has been worming it’s way through eardrums since at least the 2010 Community Records Block Party, long before the song in particular had a name or this project in general had any discernable shape). The duo has played dozens of shows since they began work on the tracks that make up The Weight, each time showcasing more and more evolved versions of their sweeping new movements.
The result gives credence to the frenetic cycle of creation and exhibition adopted by Caddywhompus and their brothers-in-arms in the newly formed Chinquapin Records collective. Given the dizzying mathed-up chops and soaring vocal range of guitarist Chris Rehm and drummer Sean Hart’s ability to fill any space – literally and figuratively – with unyielding percussion, this album could have been one non-stop, rapid fire exercise in blissed-out cacophony, and there would be little about which to complain. But the beautifully quiet and delicate parts of The Weight, its nimble starts and stops, and the tight grooves that Hart and Rehm frequently lock into demonstrate an ownership and dominion over their compositions that only come with the relentless re-examination necessitated by frequent live performances.
“The Others” may be the most impressive example of this phenomenon, as exuberantly sung verses are trailed by playful staccato breaks and intricate and subdued instrumental interludes; and the walls of fuzz and crash that follow manage to be primal and expansive without ever over-powering the undeniable pop sensibilities of the guitarwork. Even the fascinatingly plodding and psyched-out intro to album closer “The Focus” soon gives way to the type of funk-twinged rock exigency that would be just as at home on James Gang Rides Again as it would on Frances The Mute.
But comparisons, even those intended to be overtly complimentary, do Caddywhompus and/or The Weight little justice. With a sound informed by countless genres, ilks, techniques and classifications, putting a label on the band’s music – especially on this epic new release – is about as futile as trying to find any other local musician(s) on quite their same level.