High-energy, Rowdy, Raucous, Longhair Mississippi Glam Rock.
That's the sound of Easy, The Week's long-awaited followup to their breakthrough album, Dear Bo Jackson. Recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis — a place filled with the ghosts (and gear) of the Replacements, ZZ Top, and Big Star, all of whom traveled to Ardent to create their own landmark albums — Easy finds The Weeks doubling down on a mix of groove, grit, and guitars. It's swaggering and sharply-focused, shining new light on a band of brothers who, although still in their mid-20s, have already logged a decade's worth of sweaty gigs together.
If Easy bears resemblance to the raw, rowdy attitude of the The Weeks' live show, it's because the album was written at the end of a busy, five-year period that found the group rarely leaving the road.
Those years on the road were eye-opening for The Weeks, all of whom were just teenagers when they began playing together in 2006. By their early 20s, the guys were touring Europe with Kings of Leon, promoting the newly-released Dear Bo Jackson in front of 20,000 people each night. Back in America, The Weeks continued playing their own club shows, too. The experience taught them how to bridge the gap between arena shows and smaller gigs. In short, it taught them how to be themselves, no matter the audience.
Appropriately, Easy consolidates the band's strengths. While the songs on 2013's Dear Bo Jackson were thick with horn arrangements, strings, and guest appearances, Easy is a leaner, louder beast. The Weeks began working on its 11 tracks after returning home from a long tour and taking some time to rest, reflect, and regroup. Newly energized, they began writing songs at Sam and Damien's home in Nashville, with Cyle and Williams splitting the bulk of the songwriting duties. The whole process relied on collaboration, with the full band fleshing out the newer songs.
The goal was to clear out any unnecessary clutter, focusing instead on The Weeks' biggest strengths: the elastic power of Cyle's voice, capable of a crooning drawl one minute and a roof-raising howl the next; the range of Sam's guitar playing, from Motown-influenced chord stabs to garage-rock blasts of sound; and the interlocking rhythms of Damien and Cain. They threw some curveballs into the mix, too, riding a lovely, lazy, organ-heavy groove on the southern soul song "Hands on the Radio" and punctuating songs like "Ike" with a small horn section. Along the way, they made good use the studio's vintage gear, finding room on a handful of songs for Elvis Presley's microphone, Big Star's snare drum, the "Green Onions" organ from Booker T. & the M.G.'s.
Inspired by the real-life characters, places, and stories The Weeks encountered on tour, Easy is a record about where the band has been, as well as a sign of where they're going.