Weakened Friends - Common Blah - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Weakened Friends - Common Blah

by Tim Sentz Rating:6 Release Date:2018-10-19
Weakened Friends - Common Blah
Weakened Friends - Common Blah

The constant stream of new music in the internet age tends to dampen the perceived quality of an artist’s output. Back in the 90s, a band like Weakened Friends may have been able to garner a decent sized following as a second-tier radio-friendly rock that bands like Mudhoney probably relate to. Nothing about Weakened Friends is all that original, especially in these times. Their debut album Common Blah seems appropriately titled, maybe as a tongue-in-cheek response to the oversaturated genre of “indie rock” these days.

Just last week we had the return of Swearin’, who released a rather tepid release, which elicited a similar groan when played together. For the last five years or so, this regurgitation of 90s style rock was welcomed with the introduction of Speedy Ortiz and the Crutchfield sisters memorable P.s. Eliot. But here we are in 2018, and Weakened Friends are doing the almost identical thing that this revival was criticized for in the first place: homogeny.

Common Blah isn’t a terrible record, but when placed on the assembly line with the rest of them, it shows no identity. The first song on the record “Peel” does everything right for a band of this style – grungy opening, Hole-esque vocals, and a 90s riffage that feels ripped from the vaults. Sonia Sturino has a good voice, even with the random squeaks she spits out, it’s not deterring to listen to her. Weakened Friends have a good foundation for making something memorable, they just squander it by sounding like everything before them, and not in an homage way.

“Blue Again” is that slam-bang, angry and angsty rocker that we’ve all heard before – almost as early as last week, or this summer’s debut from Snail Mail, or Illuminati Hotties, or Charly Bliss, or Bully, or All Dogs, or Dilly Dally, or Mourn, or Palehound, or The Beths, etc., etc., etc. The point is, Weakened Friends are just putting themselves in the line with the rest of their peers without doing much to delineate between them. Honestly, when listening to “Hate Mail,” I bobbed my head thinking it was a new track from one of those bands already mentioned. This may be what Weakened Friends are banking on, but for a genre that is growing tired, it makes for an unmemorable listen. There’s talent here, and the resulting product is something to take pride in as a band, but if the intention is to leave a mark on the music landscape, it falls way short.  

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