Andrew Weatherall


Who’s your favourite Andrew Weatherall?

Is it the DJ whose encyclopedic collection of vinyl is guaranteed to lively up any party, between band set or wedding? Could it be the remixer who, on more than occasion has improved the original to the degree that the course of music has been altered forever? Perhaps it’s the producer whose overseeing guidance has helped create beautifully discordant music that ends up being presented to the world during the Olympics opening ceremony? Or maybe the collaborator where those additional ideas place the initial concept in a far more interesting place? Take your pick but, as evidenced on Convenanza, the chances are it won’t be the solo artist.

If Weatherall’s previous solo effort, A Pox On The Pioneers had you reacting with a heavy of sigh of disappointment before watching it gather dust over the next five years or so, then Convenanza will have you wailing with despair when you manage to rouse yourself from its slumber-inducing properties. Sad to report, but this latest effort from the man known also as The Guv’nor is an exercise in dial-it-in tedium that sounds more like the efforts of an Andrew Weatherall tribute act.

Coming after the electronic bounce of The Asphodells’ Ruled By Passion, Destroyed By Lust, it’s difficult to shake the feeling that Weatherall works best with others or with other people’s material. Left to his own devices to work from the ground up, it’s as if there’s no one around to call time on the next bong and to get down to the serious business of editorialising and applying a critical sense. So it is that all too often, Convenanza regularly dips into a bag of tried and tested moves that are little more than default settings: dubby basslines, plenty of space, echoes, jazzy trumpets that sound like deflating balloons and so on.

As evidenced by the likes of ‘The Last Walk’ and ‘The Confidence Man’, Weatherall would do well to keep away from the vocal mic and hand the singing duties over to someone else. The problem is that there’s no vocal melody, simply an aping of a bassline or chord sequence. More worryingly, the results called easily be called Danny Dyer In Dub and even Damon Albarn would shy away from the Gor-blimeyisms contained herein.

It all amounts to a crying shame, not least because we all know the brilliance that Weatherall is capable of. Take for example, The Sabres Of Paradise’s Haunted Dancehall, an album that still evokes a metallic sheen with a sense of warmth that captures the essence of illicit and deviant afterhours activities. Everyone will have favourite Weatherall remix that can still elicit a Pavlovian response wherever and whenever it’s dropped. And what all these moments have common is the sound of barriers being pushed back, of music moving forward and refusing to rest on its laurels. This, on the other hand, is the sound of a huge talent simply asking, "Will this do?" And the obvious answer is: "No, it bloody well won’t".

Pity, that.

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