It’s not often that a band have their first album out just one month after forming, but that’s exactly what Mystery Weekend have done with ‘Surprise’, which dropped on Friday.
All members of the Ontario-based trio have some recognition from their previous bands. Rody Walker and Mike Ieradi jammed together in progressive metal band Protest the Hero, while Dan Hay played guitar in early 2000’s rock outfit The Fully Down.
Mystery Weekend started as a way for the members to explore musical styles outside of their previous bands. They had no expectations of the tracks they would come up with, hence the album title ‘Surprise’.
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Opening track ‘Theodore’ starts off quiet then gradually builds up to a great slice of power rock, followed by one of the album’s highlights ‘The Obscenity Prayer’. Walker’s vocals are strong and heartfelt, particularly towards the end of the song, but there’s a huge chorus on this, too.
There’s a diverse mix of styles on the album; pop rock, metal and classic rock are the main influences but the way the band blend these genres gives them a unique sound that’s a great balance between heavy and upbeat.
Even Walker’s vocals draw on a variety of influences. Most often he sounds reminiscent of classic rock and hair metal singers of the eighties, but other times he’s screaming or has an almost theatrical element to his voice. It’s certainly unique, and is arguably the most interesting aspect of Mystery Weekend’s sound.
However, despite this blending of genres, the album somehow still ends up sounding quite samey, with not much to differentiate one song from another. ‘Nostalgia Is For The Birds’ and ‘Everyone’s A Liar’, for example, seem to blend into each other. The band have a formula which works well, but simply repeating that throughout much of the album is not enough to create a strong debut.
There are two exceptions to this, though. ‘Barfly’ is a frantic track that’s a hybrid of punk drumming and metal guitars. It’s under a minute long and is the heaviest song on the album, which will leave you wanting more.
Closing track ‘Super-death’ is an acoustic piece about not relating to songs about heartbreak and is a nice way to wind down the album and show a softer side of the band.
The defining feeling of this album is one of fun. Mystery Weekend sound like they’re full of energy and just want to have a good time, as referenced on ‘Mission Statement’ where they “Just want to have some drinks and sing some goddamn songs”.
Overall, this is an interesting debut that combines various genres to create a fresh sound. The vocal versatility of Walker is a real asset to the band, and the members’ previous musical experience makes the record sound a lot more polished than most debut albums. If you’re looking for something new and fun that doesn’t take itself too seriously, ‘Surprise’ ticks all the right boxes.
‘Surprise’ is out now, independently via Mystery Weekend.