You may not know this about me because it’s not something that comes up on Blind Thought a lot of the time, but I’m into a lot of music that isn’t in my native language, English. (I speak a few different languages besides English, but we’re not here for me to brag about my language skills.) So being asked to talk about a band that doesn’t speak English isn’t as intimidating to me as it might be to convince you as a reader of this blog to listen to this album. But I think since the English music as an industry is so dominating that it makes it way more important to talk about smaller bands that sing in different languages. I think it’s super important to the culture of the language to have it expressed through music, and people need to seek out music from those different cultures.
Background from the Band
Weesp from Belarus have released their brand new album “Боль” (which means ‘Pain’ in Belarussian). The sound is heavy and pensive, so are the meanings that’ve been put into this music.
The album was recorded in spring 2020 and the release was postponed several times for different reasons (Covid and the revolution happening now in Belarus). But especially now in view of the protests in Belarus the messages of the ‘Pain’ are particularly relevant.
From the band: “We’ve been raised in an atmosphere of fear, injustice and hopelessness. At the same time we’ve always been surrounded by so many talented people that managed to move ahead and create beautiful things in spite of everything. We see their pain. We feel this pain too. So we wanted to bring hope, faith and support to this album message.”
Weesp say they are planning a tour to support “Hurt” after the victory of the revolution in Belarus. Until then, the band might put on a few shows.
Emotion and Atmosphere
I was pleasantly impressed by this album on the first listen, and by the time I got to the third or fourth listen through, it started to stick with me. I always love it when I listened to an album for the first time, and even on that first listen, it blows me away, but I think those quieter albums that grow slowly on you are even better somehow. It’s the kind of admiration that grows and becomes more interesting the more time you spend with it as opposed to a catchy album that grabs your attention right away, and you can enjoy it, but it’s a very stagnant enjoyment.
I love that this album has a way of developing in my mind as I pick up on nuances even if the language itself goes mostly over my head. It’s the emotion and atmosphere that’s created by the songs that connect with me and not the words themselves.
Love for Guitars
The more I listen to this album, the more I fell in love with the guitar. I know as a vocalist I usually end up going right towards the main singer and talking about the vocals, and I could do that, but as someone who also (kind of) plays guitar and has always had a fascination with the instrument, I was drawn to the guitar work. Specifically on the final track when it’s a more stripped-down, acoustic song.
I learned how to play guitar with finger plucking style on acoustic as opposed to strumming–not even an electric, which I’ve only played a couple of times in my life. It’s a bit of a shock to some people who know me since I am such a huge fan of rock music and electronic-based music that when I learned guitar it was acoustic.
But getting a song on this album that closes out the whole thing that is instrument-based and much quieter, and has some fantastic guitar work is just a nice little cherry on top of what this album is.
The vocals have a few different tones in this album, which I love. I did notice that the singer rarely flips into their head voice, and I don’t know if that is just because they have a solid chest and mixed register, and it cuts through the instrumentation well or if it was a stylistic choice since having a more powerful vocal fits with the more powerful tone that the songs have. Whatever the case may be, I feel like getting that higher register would have just completed the rounded out vocal performance, but that’s a nitpicky thing for me to point out. When a vocal is so solid and fits so well with the genre that I have to pick out specific things like. “well, they didn’t use their head voice,” means that they’re doing a great job, and I’m just desperately listening to the performance trying to find something to talk about.