Sunday, February 21, 2016

Noam Weinstein's Deeply Personal "On Waves" Is The Stuff Life Is Made Of

The upcoming album by Noam Weinstein entitled "On Waves" is so utterly personal that at times while listening you can feel like an interloper in the corner of room where life's hardest and most joyous of times are played out right in front of you. I avoided any press notes before diving in and the intimacy on some of the tracks dealing with the death of Weinstein's mother and the birth of his son and the myriad of life's emotions in between are tear inducing.

This is not a maudlin record though, and in fact, there is an almost kind of bi-polar thing happening here. Tracks like Last Reincarnation, a clever, whimsical spiritual twist of a song, Intelligent Design with is horns as back up singers, Future Therapy Fund with it's weirdly fun kind of "Cotton Club-esque" stalking tone, the funky squared Over and Hey Girl, an angular lush and avante garde sock hop make out love song are a dazzling blend of blues rock, rhythm and blues and honky tonk / do wop flavors. The tone of these songs are celebratory and mix smart social commentary with comical (dark and light) metaphors and a lot of dynamic musicality.

And then, on the other hand,  there are those songs that make you think about the heavy stuff in the universe. The heart crushing In The Time We Have with it's almost country meets 50's rock shuffle is as beautiful as a wedding slow dance. The guitars are so pristine and the feeling is as pure as the light we hope we all see during our last moments on earth. The stellar lead guitar of If I Had Feelings feels like it is bathed in shards of light from a disco ball. This unrequited love song is sweet. He Will Be is a chill and deeply sweet track as Weinstein ruminates on the loving potential of his newborn son and Mother is the mother of all love songs. This tribute to the passing of one special mother (and maybe all mothers) is about family and the consistency of maternal love.

Some of the other memorable tracks (like all good songs) are clearly open to interpretation but the universality of life's trials are a keystone to Weinstein's writing style. His ability to share those intimate details that serve as touchstones and tough questions all wrapped up in bundles of wit and poetry make you think hard in between embracing the engaging melodies. The Nightmare of Life Is A Dream with it's sense of ambient sounds feels like a dream itself. Some of the barbed lyrics ("God is doing a shitty job") are things most of us have likely uttered and in the end this track plays off like a dark, dark joke but with meaning.... aww, such is life.

While listening to "On Waves", musically, tonally and aesthetically I thought of artists like Jeff Tweety, Leon Russell, Harry Nilsson and John Lennon. Like these artists, Noam Weinstein crafts artful songs with clever word play and pop prose intact but he never strays far from the deeply tender side of things. He obviously feels things in life deeply and takes a thoughtful approach to his music. The last track It Comes In Waves is a stunner, an absolute stunner. As you listen to the arc of the lyrics and the lovely orchestration it feels like a compendium of emotions from loss to love to joy to hope. It is the highs and lows, the euphoria and really bittersweet. The stuff of  life and death and like life it ends way too soon.
Robb Donker

NOAM WEINSTEIN releases new album
ON WAVES on Leap Day (February 29, 2016)
Itunes Link: Here

NYC Record Release show:
February 26, 2016
9:30 p.m.
NOAM WEINSTEIN On Waves CD Release Show
Noam (guitar, vocals) accompanied by Tyler Wood (piano)
Rockwood Stage 3
196 Allen Street 
NYC 10002

21 & over (Photo ID Required)
One drink minimum

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