Sea imagery dominates the lyrics for many tracks on Weatherboy’s self-titled debut collection and much of this responsibility is surely attributable to the influence of one half of the duo, avid surfer and artist John Walquist. His musical partnership with multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Ragnar Rosinkranz has resulted in an impressively cohesive album ripe with ambitious pop landscapes and substantive songwriting reaching far beyond the ken of other similar acts. Despite the album’s challenging musical structure, often changing direction multiple times in a single song, Weatherboy and those collaborating with them keep things consistently accessible and there’s a rousing lift you can hear at even their more mid tempo moments. They have enlisted the help of one key creative partner, legendary Grass Harp guitarist Phil Keaggy, but he doesn’t behave like some guest star intent on dominating the proceedings. He, instead, blends his talent into the song and elevates each of the ten performances.
Much of Weatherboy’s musical mission is laid out in the first few seconds of “Got a Good Thing”. This is a duo clearly interested in echoing certain pop song influences but do so with their own particular compositional flair. Many of the songs on this self-titled effort really on a dynamism we often associate with songs in the rock realm – they achieve their final effect on the listener through a process of accumulation and the opener is no different. “Riding on the Wind” is a very effective number thanks to how well it transitions from a stripped back, acoustic guitar powered beginning into a symphonic pop second half and the drumming, one of the key musical ingredients spiking the collection’s success, makes a big mark here. The wide-eyed lope of “Good Morning LA” has the same focus on an excellent vocal arrangement, complete with backing scat vocals, and an irrepressible musical air that, nonetheless, strikes a more muted quality than the earlier tracks.
The reverb laced electric guitar beginning “Eva” marks a different turn from the earlier tracks and the evocative vocals cast a spell with the soft glow of their yearning. Phil Keaggy’s guitar work brings a lot to this song and it comes with an effortlessness that complements the song very nicely. Some of Keaggy’s lead guitar near the song’s end is especially pleasing. “Emmett”, however, moves away from the idea of transitional composition and goes in a dizzying array of directions that, nevertheless, hang together without fail. This is a track that, definitely, represents Weatherboy at their most ambitious and challenging. “A Bright Flame” has the same bold exuberance defining many of the album’s best moments and the percussion really does an exceptional job of aiding in its build. “Home Fire” has a hazy intimacy quite unlike anything else on the album and the slow jangle it achieves makes it stand out as some sort of post-modern folk tune; it makes a nice pair with the final track “Full Bloom” which finds Weatherboy forsaking any of their customary stylistic trappings in favor of something arch-traditional in design, if not entirely in execution.