The debut project from Los Angeles based artist John Walquist and multi-instrumentalist Ragnar Rosinkranz dubbed Weatherboy has resulted in a ten song collection redefining top shelf pop music and certainly expanding its boundaries of possibility. They have definitely co-opted a strong influence from acts like The Beatles and The Beach Boys, but it’s supercharged by a gripping live sound and an emphasis on percussion we wouldn’t normally hear in this sort of music. The vocal strengths of the collection are considerable. Weatherboy makes imaginative use of multi-tracking, multi-part harmonies, and post production effects in a liberal way without ever risking self indulgence. This is real music pulled off by real musicians who know how to use a studio without ever being beholden to its tools. The songwriting and production alike benefit from a sharp focus on delivering the goods – the songs never meander and the performances are characterized by a warm, robust sound with an ear turned towards balance.
“Got a Good Thing” kicks off the album in an energetic way – the brass sounds they bring to bear, in particular, makes the track come off in a close, highly intimate way. There’s an uncluttered aspect to the songwriting that allows things to breathe freely and move in a flowing, unified fashion. “Great Great Thing” continues with that same buoyant spirit but the horn sounds are even stronger here than before. The vocals on both of these early cuts come on quite strong and mesh well with the arrangements; Weatherboy never seem to lack for ingenuity in the vocal melody department. “Riding on the Wind” is a real peak on the release. It has a simmering emotional intensity Weatherboy whips up from the first. There’s more of a conscious sense of restraint embodying both the songwriting and performance, but it ultimately comes off as just an elaboration of their musical approach. The stylishness on exhibition here really makes it this stand out from much of the surrounding pack.
“Goodnight LA” has a sprightly bounce, but there’s a slightly unsettled emotional tone lurking below the surface of this track. It mixes an ode to Los Angeles with an assortment of personal reflections and, both instrumentally and lyrically, rates among the best songs on this album. “Bennett” is, arguably, one of the album’s musical centerpieces and highlights the extent of their compositional talents. The changes come fast and furious and they always come off quite fluently, but this comes with a minor caveat. Like many debuting acts or projects, it’s fair to say that Weatherboy often have too many ideas for their own good and some of their wilder excursions, like “Bennett” and the later “All Your Fault”, may overwhelm listeners with their sheer variety.
The aforementioned “All Your Fault”, however, is a much straighter tune than “Bennett” – it can be, at worse, accused of being a little busy, but the ultimate impact it leaves on listeners has a much more discernible shape than the other song. It is a dazzling display, however, of their instrumental prowess that never lacks for melody. The album’s final song “Full Bloom” closes the debut with the same worldly-wise generosity of spirit defining the album’s earliest tracks. The unity of sound and theme structuring this release helps make Weatherboy one of the most impressive new entities on the scene.