Born from the politically charged hardcore group Propagandi, the Weakerthans are an indie-rock band with punk roots, their songs sometimes caustic, often framed with itchy rhythms and scratchy guitars. But that's where the typcial ends.
Throughout their their third album, Reconstruction Site, the Winnipeg quartet often defies conventional structure (think latter-day Wilco) and frequently forgets a cardinal rule of pop, that the same catchy phrases should be repeated each time a song's chorus comes around. Then there's the presence and character of frontman John K. Samson, a true iconoclast in quirky voice and fractured word. Think Lou Reed, Jim Carroll, Clem Snide's Eef Barzelay.
This is heady stuff - thank God for the lyric sheet - but it's also rock music that lives and breathes passionately. Samson hashes out vivid glimpes of city life and the characters that struggle within it. On the country-tinged "New Name For Everything," he sings, "When you can't save cash or conviction/ You're broke and you're breaking / A tired shoelace or a wave / So long, past due / A new name for everything." And, on the propulsive "Please From A Cat Named Virtue", a cat tells his owner, "I swear I'm gonna 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."