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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Review: Weather Pending – And How!

Weather Pending – And How!
2009, Ripe Fruit

San Francisco trio Weather Pending draws listeners in and lulls them into an altered state on their debut CD, And How! Elements of ethereal new edge, Dub Reggae, Hip-Hop and Electronica combine to create a pretty sounding collection of tunes that run one into the other without significant sonic variation or dynamics.

And How! opens with Complicated Two, featuring a lyrical paucity and highly textured base built on loops and undirected variation. Vocalist Janie Oliver has a decent sound, standing somewhere between Fiona Apple and a blissed-out Avril Lavigne. Her Thoughts To Me stands out as a mellow musical meditation that never really finds direction in either thought or melody. Electricity describes a state of excitement, yet maintains a largely mellow, monochromatic sound that stands in stark contrast to the subject matter. Midlands continues this largely featureless soundscape. While Oliver's vocals are present, the homogeneity of sound becomes a bit trying after a while, and there isn't much energy in the vocal line. Perfect Weather and Tide continue the general flavor continue this trend on And How!, granted with varying slow burn dance beats. Weather Pending wends their way through Another Day, Sunlight Fair and Pieces. There are signs of life on the closing Timeless, stretching to include harmonies and an acoustic, organic base. Oliver is her most engaging here, showing an energy and vitality that gets lost amid all the electronic gadgetry on the rest of the album. The arrangement itself shows the same essential lack of originality that's characteristic of the electronic arrangements, but seems to free Oliver to yawn and stretch and come to life.

And How! is one of those albums that are full of great potential that never becomes fully realized, although Weather Pending takes big steps on the closing number. Janie Oliver has a pleasant voice that won't blow you away but is pleasant to hear. With the right arrangements and a sense for dynamics several of the songs could be real winners. As it is, And How! is a nice bit of background music. Weather Pending comes into a more full realization of what they might be able to do on the last track, Timeless, but even then seems unsure of where to take it. And How! is a pleasant listen but not something that inspires you to come back again and again.
Rating: 2 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Weather Pending at or You can purchase And How! From as either a CD or download.

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