For all its petulant shoegaze noise, a dense, swirling mass of feedback and fuzz that swallowed singer Shaun Durkan’s distorted wail—and any worthwhile melodies—whole, Weekend’s 2010 debut, Sports, still managed to impact on a purely emotional level. With the deafening static dialed back to less abrasive levels, the San Francisco band’s aptly titled sophomore effort, Jinx, starts out promising, with a few well-crafted and consistently surprising gems, but the lackluster backend seems far too content to tread water.
“Mirror,” the album’s first single, kicks things off with an extended intro that reaffirms Weekend’s propulsive rhythm section as the band’s hyperactive engine. It feels appropriately dramatic when the din finally dies down enough for Durkan’s voice to ring through with a relative clarity. “July” comes in all hot and bothered, as if already in mid-song, and builds to a joyous falsetto chant over an angular bassline, while “Oubliette” and “Celebration, FL” continue the hot streak, the latter’s skittering Blondie-esque disco beat eventually getting drowned out in a dizzying collision of echoing vocals.
From there, things go downhill awfully quickly. “Sirens” sounds like the garbled opening line of a promising song stretched over three sullen minutes, and this same sense of inertia seeps into the remainder of the album, as the constant reinvention that characterized earlier songs is replaced by lulling repetition. The lyrical growth Durkan has hinted at in interviews has been greatly exaggerated: His earnest pleas of “I want to save you from the world” to a “sad girl with butterfly face paint” on “Adelaide” are likely to induce more cringes than anything else.
Perhaps a change in the album’s sequencing might have helped disguise the fact that Jinx is a stellar EP padded with a bunch of somnambulant B-sides. By the time closer “Just Drive” attempts to reinvigorate with its defiantly hopeful sense of resignation, it only helps to underscore how long the album has been drifting along on cruise control.