The Weakerthans third, literate album, Reconstruction Site (Epitaph), is one of the best albums of 2003. It possesses beautiful lyrics and melodies accompanied by music that takes folk, rock, and punk roots to become something greater than the sum of its parts.
The Weakerthans, stemming from Winnipeg, Canada, have their roots in punk, specifically the great Canadian punk band Propaghandi which is where singer/songwriter John K. Samson hails from. He left that band when he wanted to take a new direction, so joined forces with drummer Jason Tait, bassist John P. Sutton and guitarist/keyboards Stephen Carroll to form The Weakerthans. And take a new direction is exactly what they did. The Weakerthans are to pop music what Cracker was back in the day, but by no means do they sound like an imitation of anyone. Every song on this album is little gem waiting to be discovered by a band who doesn't take their force in aggression, but in words, ideas and being honest about their emotions.
The album starts out with a manifesto in the first song, "(Manifest)," in which John K. Samson declares if "I'm permitted one act I can save / I choose to sit here next to you and wave." This simple statement sets the mood for the entire album. Also, the melody of this first track is repeated in the song "Hospital Vespers" in the middle of the album, and it sounds very much like the music for "(Manifest)" being played backwards with different lyrics over it. The last track of the album, "Past-Due," also shares the same sentiment and sound of the previous two tracks, giving the album an overall familiarity. You also get a weird deja-vu feeling that creates a really cool mood when you listen to the album straight through. Each song is catchy and short (only one song on the album is more than four minutes) and tells a story that stay true to the band's poltico roots. There is almost a sense of Bob Dylan throughout the album's lyrics, which gives it incredible depth.
If you are looking for something new and exciting ... pure and honest you should start here.