Sound — 7
Debuting in 2010 with the successful noise-pop (see: Sonic Youth rip-off) "Sports," lo-fi trio Weekend returns in 2013 with "Jinx." The record comes as a culmination of two EPs (one being the superb "Red") and "Sports"' considerable critical acclaim. Far from a perfect record itself, its appearance in the public eye from the TV show "Dexter" to a "Sports Illustrated" article (one can only wonder why) at least introduced the band to a wider audience. With only a handful of moments poppy enough to belong in the mainstream, Weekend became one of the admirable groups promoting the genre to an audience otherwise being fed primarily derivations of pop. "Jinx" may fit the mold or break it, depending on its moments. Virtually every track could fit somewhere within The Cure's discography (see: "Adelaide" for a particularly conspicuous example). Whether the flavor of the minute is a nearly identical guitar tone or the general doom and gloom, oftentimes the "jinx" is the band's creative decisions. By no means is it unenjoyable, but one itches for "Disintegration" so often during this record that it becomes difficult to enjoy on its own merits. The opening track, "Mirror," does open with a promising classic lo-fi moment, but almost immediately dives into the trademark Cure drums and guitar work. Some redemption is found in moments of the record, but it's more an exception than the rule. "Celebration, FL" has the same sort of noisy opening as "Mirror," but becomes a poppier Cure within seconds. It's easy enough to digress and point out that the music is still very good, but it isn't as though this album hasn't already seen the light of day (excusing the relentless darkness of the music itself). When the record departs from what has essentially become the "pop" in pop-goth, it turns to spacier shoegaze, with great success. "Rosaries" is one of the record's absolute highest moments, feeling equally as depressing as the rest of the record, but with a dreamy contemplation along for the ride. "Scream Queen" is of the same brand with a bit more bombast, and the unskippable "Just Drive" is as close to perfect as the band comes. It's rather grittier than the rest of the record, perhaps a pissed-off response to the rest of the record's relentless tear baiting. Certainly a good note to end on after 3/4ths of an hour of good (if derivative) music.
Lyrics — 8
One thankful discrepancy between Weekend and The Cure is singer Shaun Durkan, who has considerably less of Robert Smith's characteristic wail, though both utilize an almost identical melodic technique. Most of Durkan's vocals are also less distinguishable than Smiths, often buried under the instrumentation and other vocalizations (primarily harmonies and drawn-out chants of certain melodramatic phrases). In songs such as the mostly instrumental "Sirens," it makes the music very easy to enjoy, where Smith put far more emphasis on the lyricism. Weekend's knowledge of its own strengths and Durkan's quieter disposition are the perfect fit for "Jinx." Weekend aligns lyricism and instrumentation as one would expect, with lamentation about "promises of direction you couldn't keep" ("Oubliette") and wanting to "save you from the world" ("Adelaide"). "Mirror" feels "sick, sick, sick in my heart." "Celebration, FL" repeats "I want to fade away" with a certain apathy that makes it more contemplative than whiny. All in all, the thematic content works well enough here, and despite the record's continuous darkness there aren't any notable moments of dreariness to the point of silliness.
Overall Impression — 7
While "Jinx" is essentially a younger and somewhat more pop-familiar Cure release, there are still some pretty great moments and very few low points. The greatest low point is really nothing more than the fact that Weekend does a really good job in emulating a really good band, with definite moments that are almost entirely its own ("Sirens" is one such gorgeous moment). Additionally, "Jinx" is all-around better than "Sports," even if the greatest change was in what band was being ripped off for the Weekend (cough). Most notably, any band able to de-eighties-ify The Cure and bring the same spirit into a 2010s setting is well worth forty-five minutes, and perhaps even a few repeat listens.