How very cynical. On the day when the newspapers are plastered with pictures of future monarchs, and on the weekend when some parts of the UK have been warned about possibly the worst storm of the year arriving, we have a band called Future Monarchs giving us an EP called 'Weird Weather'. Of course it's nothing of the sort. The band are from Chicago and the EP has been available since the end of August, but I couldn't help but remark on the coincidence. No cynicism, simply a set of six tunes of reasonably pleasant guitar music that owe a debt to Big Star, The Beach Boys, and all who've borrowed from them in the past. They ply songs like 'Evil Art', the very fine opening track, with the kind of guitar that would slip nicely onto a Teenage Fanclub song, which pretty much proves the above comparisons.
They're not robbers though, and really 'Weird Weather' isn't aping any band, rather keeping similar in style to the music they like. It's telling that they've recently toured with Brendan Benson, another artist who walks a similar path. First single 'Bells' leads with a piano and some nice percussion; the production is pretty much perfect for this form of music, and there's variety in terms of instrumentation to be found here too, which adds some extra sparkle to the EP. Perhaps the hands of Wilco's Pat Sansone at the desk has aided their cause. 'Landslide' is maybe the high point of the record, it's part George Harrison, part Laurel canyon and part ELO (and, oddly, this is a good thing here), the melodies and the rhythm are wonderful; the breezy 'My Old Ways' pretty much continues where that song left off. The combination of powerpop and Britpop on 'Cigarette Smoke' ensures the tunes keep flowing freely, before they leave us with the gentle, '60s pop-dressed-in-strings of 'Lydia'. They might not be ready to rule a country, but the 'Weird Weather' should be allowed to rule your stereo for a while.