reviews the new Weakerthans album!

In the late 1990s singer-songwriter John K. Samson split from his hyper-political, smart-mouthed punk band Propaghandi to head off on a more mellow and introspective route, trading the buzz-saw guitars and speed-metal tempos for keyboards, trumpets and a lap steel. As the third full-length CD from Samson and fellow sensitive Canadian rockers the Weakerthans, Reconstruction Site isn't a departure from previous albums, but more of the same literati lo-fi that quotes Martin Amis, writes from your kitty's point of view ("Why don't you ever want to play?/I'm tired of this piece of string" Samson croons on "Plea from a Cat Named Virtue") and remembers to yank hard at your heartstrings with simple, gorgeous acoustic strums and lyrics ("One Great City!", an ode to their hometown of Winnipeg). The Weakerthans' blend of pop, rock, folk and alt-country is smart, funny, sad and beautiful all at once; in this sad era of Jewel-authored verse books, they're our bona-fide rock and roll poet laureates.

-James Allen
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