The Weightlifters ~ Last of the Sunday Drivers
Date: Saturday, November 03, 2007 @ 14:59:18 UTC

Artist: The Weightlifters

CD: Last of the Sunday Drivers

Home: Chicago, Illinois

Style: Indie Pop/Rock

Quote: "With beautiful imagery, inspired melodies, and clever lyrics, this EP should not be passed up by any music lover."

By Thomas D. Szewc

First and foremost, get any thoughts out of your head about hard-bodied people with giant shoulders sweating in a gym. The Weightlifters new EP Last of the Sunday Drivers has nothing to do with pumping iron, nor does it sound like anything you might associate with doing so; we can probably be thankful for that too.

The Weightlifters is actually the brainchild of Adam McLaughlin (a.k.a. Ray O. Sunshine), who takes it upon himself to be a jack-of-all-trades and play a total of eight different instruments on this release (nine if you count the “handclaps” listed in the liner notes). In fact, the only sounds you’ll hear on this album not played by McLaughin are the drums, strings, and one track’s electric guitar. Sometimes I believe there’s a certain stigma attached to the concept of a one-man-band; I know I personally never go in with much hope. Well, I’ve been proved wrong in the past and I can happily say that this time I was proved very, very wrong.

There’s quite a bit to like about Last of the Sunday Drivers. The Weightlifters sound is a blend of modern era pop-rock and melodies reminiscent of pop music from around the 60’s era of music. Within these six songs, you’ll find a string of well-produced melodies and captivating choruses. “Undefined” and “Low” are two bouncy, upbeat sounding songs that will have you tapping your foot right away. I feel like they induce a sense of imagery that paints a rather bright and coloring scene. However, if you pay close attention to the lyrics of “Low,” you may find it’s not quite as lighthearted as the melody presents. The end result is a particularly interesting contrast.

Then you have the albums title track, which stands out with a more melancholy tune. Rather than feeling out of place on an otherwise upbeat album, the song actual adds more depth and feeling. I also have to give a nod to the guitar solo in "Weightless and Easy," which introduces a funky rhythm into the beat that actually fits quite well. "Oblivion Shines," at its heart, is a very relaxed, acoustic track with the perfect melody to put on and mellow out to.

Last of the Sunday Drivers really is a wonderful CD to just sit back and enjoy while taking a moment to unwind from that hectic life we all lead. It even takes the time to remind you how rare that’s becoming, if you pay close enough attention.

McLaughlin has a talent for writing seemingly simple, yet effective, lyrics. Much like the tone of the songs, the words have that classic era influence without losing any sort of modern pertinence. The flow and prose of "September" shows off this quality quite well:

Quick before this fickle flame is smothered.
Quick before, in time, it is discovered:
I am September, and I need your gentle June to make me feel better.
And I need your hot July to warm me.
November is a bore - vintage and obscure, and heavy as heartbreak.
Baby don't you weep; nothing's ours to keep ...

The seasonal analogy is a very big draw for me here. For one, it’s used in a pretty interesting way, but it also makes the song easy to relate to. In many ways, McLaughlin’s lyrics offer a sort of universal relevance that spans generations, old and new. Some of the best lyrical work, however, comes within the title track. I can see why this track also became the album’s title, as it is, without a doubt, the most powerful and striking song on the EP. Now, I don’t want to make presumptions about the lyrics here, but I personally find them to be kind of chilling:

I've just got a hunch Serenity is getting bored.
Need to settle down.
Reason's racing off at breakneck speed.
Need to settle down.
Everybody knows a taste is a lethal dose.
Say goodbye to the last of the Sunday drivers.
Comfort is chemical, and I've got the shakes.
I quit cold-turkey. I guess I lost faith in its antiquated design ...

I can see such brilliantly expressed despair within these lines. The idea of comfort and free time as an “antiquated design” is such a depressing thought yet also should strike a chord with anyone who can’t seem to find a moment in their busy day to stop and relax for a bit (and lets face it, that’s a lot of us). Perhaps I’m reading too much into it, but by naming the album Last of the Sunday Drivers, it’s as if McLaughlin is saying the Weightlifters are a sense of the last of a kind and this collection of songs is to be used to capture that infrequent moment of calm, personal pleasure. Of course, I don’t want to get too complex here; its all about taking it easy after all.

Listening to this album feels like hearing something that’s definitely new and original, yet takes you back to a time long gone (even if you weren’t actually alive then, like myself). With beautiful imagery, inspired melodies, and clever lyrics, this EP should not be passed up by any music lover. The album may be short, but just look at it this way: these Weightlifters happen to have more brain than brawn. So take a moment, relax, and enjoy this album.

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