Monday, September 7, 2015

The Weeklings - Monophonic

The Weeklings are hardly the first band aiming to capture the effervescent sound of The Beatles, but success comes naturally to them on their official full-length debut Monophonic. Guitarist Rocky (John Merjave) and bassist Lefty (Glen Burtnik) have performed with the critically acclaimed Beatles tribute band Liverpool for several years, and they've found like-minded collaborators in Zeek (Bob Burger) and Ramblin' Dave (Dave Anthony). The 12 songs, which are evenly divided between Burtnik-Burger compositions and obscure gems The Beatles composed but never officially released, were recorded using pretty much the same approach that was prevalent in the early 1960s.

The Weeklings kick things off on Monophonic with "Little Tease" and "Leave Me With My Pride,"a pair of catchy originals that evoke the earliest days of Beatlemania. "Mona Lisa" provides the missing link between the British Invasion and power pop by adding elements of Cheap Trick and The Raspberries. The delicate "Oh! Darla" is sort of a darker take on "When I'm 64," in which a guy imagines a time when he's old and useless but still has memories of this wonderful woman. "Breathing Underwater," with its amiable shuffling beat, and the optimistic "If I Was In Love" would have fit in well on Revolver or Rubber Soul.

The Beatle songs on Monophonic may be obscure but they're well chosen and given inventive arrangements. George Harrison's "You Know What To Do" sounds more fortified than the sparse demo that's available on The Beatles Anthology Series, while Lennon and McCartney's "One And One Is Two" and "I'm In Love" are brought to life with authentic Fab Four instrumentation and vocals. "It's For You" and "That Means A Lot" are gorgeous romantic ballads, while the biting "If You've Got Trouble" has the energetic feel of "Ticket To Ride."

When The Weeklings performed at this year's Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago, they offered a preview of some more Beatles rarities that are slated to be on the follow-up to Monophonic.  
It would also be interesting to hear some Burtnik-Burger songs that were influenced by tracks from the Abbey Road and Let It Be era.

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