La Lamentor found John Adam Weinland Shearer splitting his influential loyalties between two masters, Iron & Wine and Neil Young. Not influences to scoff at, no indeed. But on his follow up to that album, Weinland bursts forth as his own in Breaks In The Sun. He has tried a few things, come of age, and discovered that he can carry himself above and beyond his earlier influences.
Breaks In The Sun is still ingrained in folk, from the soft, airy vocals (again, a nod to Sam Beam) and blend of strings, guitars and banjo. But where select folk artists in this vein can be abrasive, songs like “It’s Already True” and opener “Sunken Eyes”, along with other selections from the album, are calming and smooth.
The album further nods toward Weinland’s other primary influence in Young thanks to the injection of rock-worthy electric guitar that pops up at all the right places. While these rock elements crop up occasionally, Weinland sometimes drops in a little drone as found in “I Feel Wasted”, further demonstrating the group’s versatility. Yet from the drone-ridden “I Feel Wasted” to the minimalistic “Piano Hymn”, the tunes remain nicely cohesive.
So no, Weinland has not abandoned his influences, he has just pulled the proper elements from their music, refined them, and made ’em his own. And that shows true progression. It will be very exciting to see where Weinland goes next!
Above photo by Tarina Westlund.
Badman Recording Co. [CD, 2009]
1. Sunken Eyes
2. I’m Sure It Helps
3. Hardly Worth Saving
4. People Like You
5. Autumn Blood
6. The Letters II
7. Piano Interlude
8. It’s Already True
9. I Feel Wasted
10. The Breaks In The Sun
11. Piano Hymn