The Weight's 2008 release Are Men marks an interesting evolution of the group's sound. What was once a singer-songwriter-with-backing band is now simply a band. Of men.
Perhaps it was one too many shows with sensitive, weekend-warrior singer-songwriters armed with acoustic guitars (and songs fit only for girlfriends), or frustration with an interchangeable backing band, but upon relocating to New York, Joseph Plunket set out to form a proper band. He found a rhythm section with ease: Will Nolan on bass (Joseph's uncle, strangely only five years his senior), and J. Ellis (friend via Atlanta, GA punk-rock formative years) on drums. A few short-lived characters later, The Weight arrived at a solid lineup with the addition of Fletcher C. Johnson on lead guitar and Johnny Carpenter on pedal steel, with both contributing vocals. The result is something quite different from previous lineups. Fletcher brings his all-around wild style; Johnny, his multi-instrumentalism and name-matching personality; Will and Jay, a newfound consistency and craftsmen sensibility; and Joseph, far more songs than any band could ever hope to learn (an unusual problem.)
Are Men reveals a sound and feel very much different from 2004's 10 Mile Grace, which found the group working within the framework of earnest alt-country executed by post-punk kids. In contrast, Are Men brings a sense of light-hearted fun-timin' to the songwriting and execution (more country-rock block party, less alt). It's the sound of a band enjoying the process. Sing-along choruses, three-part harmonies, psych guitar freak-outs, rowdy gang vocals – all things people love…so The Weight have discovered. For the similarly post-jaded kids and honest fans of Americana, Are Men sounds like the record you actually enjoy listening to.
The Weight is:
Joseph Plunket: guitar, vocals
Fletcher C. Johnson: guitar, vocals, piano, harmonica
Johnny Pockets: pedal steel, keys, piano, vocals
Will Noland: electric and upright bass
J Ellis: drums, tambourine