Whenever I write a review, I think of the scene in Dead Poet’s Society where Robin Williams has his students tear out all the comments in the Poetry Anthology that tell what the poems are about. The fact is, poems aren’t about anything. They are about feeling, reacting, and living and connecting. And the same goes for songs.
Wise Girl released their first full-length LP on September 10th. The band is made up of Abby Weitz on vocals and guitar, Chris Fasulo on guitar/bass and Harry Keithline on drums. You’ll Just Have to Wait contains ten songs that are filled with originality and freshness, and will launch you right into 2014 like no other collection of songs you will currently find.
Abby Weitz does like to write about relationships, yes. Sure she’s influenced by Elvis Costello, The Ramones, and the Foo Fighters among others. Above all, she writes music that makes you feel something. It’s best to just listen to Abby’s music, feel it and not have to analyze it. Here, I’ve removed myself from my preferred role of listener to give you some of my thoughts on the first five tracks of the LP.
The title track, You’ll Just Have to Wait, combines the feeling of relationship angst and control and mingles with melodies that interact between vocals and guitar. Abby shows her versatility and skill with her harmonies driving the song like she’s in a Mercedes convertible. Her lyrical voice captures the emotional experience with melodies that will grab you by your heart and connect you to the complexities of modern relationships- if you listen over and over like you’ll want to do.
I’m a Freak is me, it’s you, it’s Abby writing and singing for us how we all feel. “I’m always in my own head, I’m a freak, I’m a freak.” The song is driven by multiple melodic themes, alternating between guitar riffs and vocals. Underneath is a driving rhythm of bass and drums that will engage you fully and deeply.
Second starts with a driving guitar and rhythm and then pulls back for the enjoyment of Abby’s vocals, both syrupy and confident. Her voice is now a second person, talking to a lover in that frustrated, matter of fact way that we all wish we could- getting to the heart of how “I” feel about “you.” Her words are laced with honesty that comes from writing from the heart, feeling deeply and living fully. Self-destruction and dysfunction. How do we get involved with these people? Aren’t we tired of how others’ bad choices have such an effect on us?
So Broken: “I can’t understand how someone would go out of their way to make someone else’s day so broken.” Do these people know who they are? She intermingles a second person voice with a first person effortlessly like a skillful poet while Chis Fasulo provides driving support on guitar and bass. Harry Keithline plays the drums just right, driving, just the right dynamics, filling tastefully in all the right places.
Leave Me Out of It starts with an acoustic guitar, just when you least expect it. This is a song that wonders that if by not participating, not belonging, we’ve perhaps found our best solution, especially when making decisions in our interactions and relationships. “What’s done is done- don’t hold on, let it go.” A mantra for the 21st century sung with such lyricism and melody that the notion would be hard to forget.
The LP concludes with Little White Lies, I’m Not Ready, Stuck in This, Wishful Thinking and Roles are Reversed. OK. You may see the relationship theme here. But I’m not going to write or analyze any more of this truly grand collection of songs.
Abby Weitz writes music that makes you want to react and live. That is what art is all about. It’s serious music done with an underlying sense of humor. This Wise Girl is a talented songwriter. You can tell your friends that you found Wise Girl first, texting with your headphones plugged in as you sing along to every song. Unless of course, you already have.