If I could just reproduce all the Weakerthans lyrics and let them suffice as a review, I surely would, but I'm pretty sure the record company would have a hard time justifying their efforts in sending the thing along in the first place. For as good, pleasant and warmly inviting as the music is, and it is very pleasant and inviting, the lyrics are the thrill of it all. As much entertaining meanderings of an imaginative mind as it is simply clever in its observant turn-of-phrases, Reconstruction Site is barely half the building it is if a listener refuses to absorb these words.
I'm certain the immense Tragically Hip has some blame for the terrific way in which Reconstruction Site plays itself out, as it's difficult to imagine any Canadian rock band not taking note of Gord Downey's legendary poetics or the Hip's lionizing rock'n'roll (though, admittedly, the Weakerthan's are much more similar to this latter-day mellow Hip.) The Weakerthans play with well-controlled passion, where the smart hooks speak maturely and with great taste, while vocalist John K. Samson's lyrics spell out weird streams of consciousness and obscure conversations that he probably wasn't even a part of.
Just tune into "Our Retired Explorer (Dines With Michel Foucault In Paris, 1961)" for that latter point and you might just be echoing Sampson's sentiments of "I'm not entirely sure what you're talking about."
Still, it's welcome and deeply admirable when Samson makes his smartness clear, while the band does the same behind him, while uttering words of "Beauty's just another word I'm never certain how to spell/...And his father laughed and talked on the long ride home/And his mother laughed and talked on the long ride home/And he thought about how everyone dies someday, and when tomorrow gets here where will yesterday be" during the dramatically talented title track.
And when they say, "How the time is never now/And we know who we should love/But we're never certain how" during "The Reasons." And the tender memory of, "Once more, with feeling, let the toast to absent members push through the ceiling, before we say goodnight" from "Psalm For The Elks Lodge Last Call." And when Samson threatens, "I swear I'm going to bite you hard and taste your tinny blood if you don't stop the self-defeating lies you've been repeating since the day you brought me home/I knoy you're strong" from "A Plea From A Cat Named Virute." And the odd melancholy of whispering "your arrival walking backwards to the door/Wonder briefly what it is you're hesitating for" from "Time's Arrow."
And an adult handful of other wildly imaginative, instrumentally grasping moments that makes one beg in wonderment how to express themselves in such lucrative terms. But maybe it's the same as the Weakerthans once did one time yesterday while loving Gord Downey's Hip rambles.
Either way, Reconstruction Site is the beautiful path from which to watch where they're at.