San-Fran based Will Weston has aligned himself with a gang of six other musicians to record his second album Heart of the Order. Backed by these new rhythm and horn players, Weston leads the way through ten tracks, shifting genres and tone as he does so. The final product as a whole is both engaging and professional sounding.
Picking one track to summarize the nature of Heart of the Order is no easy task—things change seamlessly from song to song. “Oblivion Song” for example is a light-hearted number in defiance of its own title. As Weston works his way through a list of all the ways we could “finally cash it in” (as he puts it), the song itself takes on the joyful air of a summer ska tune.
This is followed with “Search Engine,” a decidedly harder track carried by a marching rhythm and big, crunching guitar chords. Things change yet again in the next track “Trace Your Flaws,” a keyboard-laden slowdown that at times verges on doo-wop. There's a concerted effort here to offer a wide variety of sounds and styles. What ties it all together is a core of upbeat energy and humor.
Perhaps the album's best moments are those that manage to duplicate that live show feel. In “One Step” this is made apparent right away as Weston invites the audience to join him (“and you can sing that with me/you can sing out loud/we belong to the night/a siren echoing the avenues”), accumulating into a group chant of “Go-go! Go-go!” This group exercise is capped off in the final minute when a killer sax solo cuts in, unwinding and screeching its way to the end. It feels spontaneous but at the same time has all the polish of a big-label release.
Simply put, Heart of the Order is fun. It is made of fun, it preaches fun and it breeds fun. It's one of those rare moments where someone has made an album with no specific statement in mind but at the same time ensured that it actually has meat on its bones.
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