Record Reviews


Weak Boys? debut LP may play up their slacker appeal, but it packs some serious home truths, writes DOUG WALLEN.

There’s not a bit of false advertising in Weak Boys? band name. The Sydney trio devote their debut album almost exclusively to their personal shortcomings, usually dispensed with conversational looseness by [living brand]( Matt Banham.

These are songs about scabbing smokes, running out of wine and swearing off all the usual vices, which, in the case of the latter, means making resolutions that will never be kept. There’s no mistaking this for ?serious? stuff – observe the moment in ?Unrequited Diane Keaton? where Banham quips, ?Forget about Woody, and Warren too/I’m a better man, like you heard about from Pearl Jam? just seconds before borrowing a classic Notorious B.I.G. line – but under that constant humour are a long list of home truths about trying (or not trying very hard at all) to finally grow up.

Is it a concept album? Hell, it could be a concept band. But it’s to Weak Boys? credit that they can run through 10 songs without exhausting their prevailing subject matter. And really, they tackle their growing pains from a variety of shifting angles: ?Fucken Landlords? takes the form of real frustration turned to mock outrage (?Fucken landlords, fucken daylight savings, fucken being born, fucken TV ratings?), while ?Deal With It? (sung by Chris Yates, who co-wrote the lyrics with Banham) seems stubbornly content with a life of ?gettin? high on the couch playing videogames? and ?Jules, Brent & I? is a haphazard power-pop tune that jokes about stealing [Spod](/articles/4620222)?s girlfriend.

Despite all that daggy bravado, however, regret inevitably sets in. Starting out like a wobbly country chestnut, ?I’m Never Drinking Again? is classic mid-hangover wallowing and self-pity, but with its pop-culture radar still in full effect (?I’m never the Homer to your Barney?) and a satisfying, Summer Flake-esque fuzz solo ready to flow on through. ?Hangovers? turns brain-fried limbo into a jangly slacker anthem that sounds empowering until you realise it’s about how an ageing drinker can’t keep up with his younger counterparts. It’s the most pointed song about generation gaps since Superchunk’s [?My Gap Feels Weird?](’v=EYN79LNnFzw), and you can feel Banham’s frustration as he laments teenagers casually knowing all about Pavement’s Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain and Dinosaur Jr.?s ?Feel the Pain? despite barely having been born when those releases actually came out.

?Weak Boys turn lumpy drums and wagging guitars to themes of prickly universalness.?

You’d expect a band that teams Banham (former leader of the plenty self-deprecating [No Through Road](/search/?q=no+through+road)) up with Yates (a member of slacker indie-rock veterans [Dollar Bar](/search/?q=dollar+bar)) and Banham’s [Disgusting People]( bandmate Craig Lyons to do this kind of thing perfectly, and they do. Out-dolewaving every would-be dolewave band around, Weak Boys turn their lumpy drums and wagging guitars to themes of prickly universalness. ?Unrequited Diane Keaton? pulls real feelings out of a fantasy lark, and anyone who’s ever left their hometown can relate to the Adelaide exit that is opener ?South Australia?. The most relatable song of all could be ?Settled?, a spell of wishful thinking that lays out Banham’s straight-faced plans for becoming a better person but also can’t resist equating owning a butcher knife with somehow being grown-up.

When the most heartfelt song on an album is called ?Dog Farm? – which, incidentally, is sung and written by Yates rather than Banham – you know you’ll have to navigate a good many tongues lodged firmly in cheek. (Sample lyric: ?It hurts more than a dog attack, knowing that you won’t come back.?) For some that will be a deal-breaker right up front, but for the rest of us, Weak Boys come off like a bar band who are suffering through the highs and lows of boozy excess right alongside us. Hangovers may be taking up too much of their weekend, as one chorus goes, but that doesn’t stop them going back for another round.


##?Weekdays/Weekends? is out now digitally and on vinyl through [Strong Look]( Read the band’s [Track by Track](/articles/4676841). Upcoming gigs below.

Sat, Feb 21 – Black Wire Records, Sydney, NSW [w/Chook Race, Nathan Roche + Jack Lee]
Thurs, Feb 26 – Waywards, Sydney, NSW [w/Aloha Units + Claire & The Cops, [free with RSVP](]