On the Weakerthans' last album, Left and Leaving, John K. Samson displayed a knack for writing through personas, creating heartbreakingingly sympathetic characters that you knew were, at heart, him. Reconstruction Site attempts to follow suit, but when you hear Samson sing from the perspective of a Winnipegan bus driver, an Elks Club member or a cat, you wonder who the hell he thinks he is, speaking for them through half-assed character sketches. Every song on Reconstruction Site seems to have the same pensive, vaguely alt-country melody, and whereas the Weakerthans were once one of the very few bands whose lyric sheets were worth reading, we're lucky to get one good line a song on this album. (Godfre Leung)
The Weakerthans play Saturday, Sept. 13, at Nocturnal, 1800 E Burnside St., 239-5900. 9 pm. . All ages.
Most high-energy guitar-rock bands tend to be about as exciting as an afternoon nap. But Portland's Electric Eye is wide awake. Its debut CD, Electric Wisdom, showcases a hot cross-breed of classic punk and classic rock, making an indecisive alliance with the boldly shifting powers of a classic hardcore crazy man. It's a grand tale, really, virtually seamless in its telling, wherein the terminal flatline of vigorous riff-mongering is spiked by the convulsive powers of a full-on heart attack. Electric Eye frontman August, for all his ear-shredding exuberance, often has an air of mockery about him. The band can blaze away, playing it below the belt with hard-riffing shuffles and songs about carnal activities. But when August screams, "MY ERECTION IS SHIT," we know Electric Eye has found an unexpected zipper to the whole cock-rock package. (Sam Dodge Soule)