The Weakerthans

With Maritime and Mico. Thursday, October 16, at the Grog Shop.

Three Birds 18515 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood 216-221-3500. Hours: 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The Weakerthans
The Weakerthans
Since leaving behind the punk agitprop of Propagandhi, John Samson has discovered that less is more. Less abrasive and overtly political, the Weakerthans remain committed to social criticism, though Samson's lyrics are more poetic and rife with metaphor. For example, the band's new album, Reconstruction Site, features "Plea From a Cat Named Virtue," where his feline says, "Listen, about those bitter songs you sing? They're not helping anything," before imploring him to "stop the self-defeating lies you've been repeating since the day you brought me home." Or there's "A New Name for Everything," which imagines "when you can't save cash or conviction; you're broke and you're breaking -- a tired shoelace or a wave." His prose unfurls relentlessly, like a lackadaisical but well-metered rap, surfing the edges of the composition and challenging the listener to follow in his wake. Often, Samson recalls Blake Schwarzenbach, another refugee from punk with a varied musical approach and wry, literate lyrics -- only Samson's musical marksmanship is much more assured. Certainly, the driving, sophisticated but understated midtempo alt-rock tunes on the Weakerthans' latest sound similar to Jets to Brazil's first album, though Samson retains a touch of the folky ambiance that keyed their last release, the far more subdued Left & Leaving.
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