This album will knock you on your ass!
Reviewed by David Peisner
Rating: 4/5 Stars
The Weakerthans are probably too smart to be writing pop songs. The Canadian quartet's third album name-checks French philosopher Michel Foucault, Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton, and Marxist novelist/art critic John Berger, and is inspired by a host of Canadian poets we've never heard of. And it rocks. Reconstruction Site melds the personal, the political, and the philosophical seamlessly, rarely letting its bookishness get the better of it. On the title track, frontman John Samson toys with words, demonstrating the elusive power of language with a surreal wash of images, backed by an appropriately woozy pedal steel guitar. Driven by a chugging guitar riff, "The Reasons" is a love song for people who are embarrassed by love songs. "Psalm for the Elks Lodge Last Call" unfolds with the detailed anxiety of a Raymond Carver story, while the insistent, whimsical bang-up "Plea From a Cat Named Virtue" finds Samson getting an emotional kick in the ass from his cat. Too clever? Perhaps. But Reconstruction Site packs enough winsome power-pop punch that it's engaging even if you haven't the first damn clue who Jacques Derrida is.