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Album Review: Light in August – “Sweater Weather”

Posted on 14 January 2011 by Mylynda Guthrie

By Abby Holmes

Sweater weather is one thing you can count on to come around year-round.  It’d be unheard of to wear a down puffy jacket in the depths of summer, and donning a halter top in the below-zero temperatures of winter might get you tossed in a straightjacket. But no matter what the season, there will always be a time for sweaters.

That’s why Light in August’s Sweater Weather is so aptly titled. From start to finish, the nine-track album is breezy enough for spring, warm enough for summer, tranquil enough for autumn and stark enough for winter. Any time of year, the music fits your ear.

Lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Alex Wand put his work in good hands with Jim Roll, a veritable Midwest superstar when it comes to producing, mixing, mastering and playing music. Roll has worked on such fine albums as Frontier Ruckus’ The Orion Songbook and Deadmalls & Nightfalls, as well as Chris Bathgate’s Cork Tale Wake and Grey Buried by Drunken Barn Dance. He is also working with Gun Lake on their debut album, now scheduled for release in February.

Gun Lake singer/guitarist Mark Fain provides backing vocals on two songs from Sweater Weather. “Seraphim” is a bright serenade to a long-distance love, and “Winter Clothes” a somewhat more melancholy declaration of the same, insisting “I would fit you into my life, but it’s best that you stay gone.” Something tells me Wand carries a torch for some girl who’s gone East. Just a guess.


Whatever the reality, Wand’s got one generous muse to which he alludes on the opening and closing tracks, “Muse (Part I)” and “Muse (Part II),” resembling a fusion of Indian and Chinese folk styles with sitar, flute and a timpani drum sound. An Andrew Bird sensibility enters on “The First Days of May,” and sticks around throughout the album. “Water” flows in with the pitter-pat of drums and a brief tinkle of keys, just like a soothing rainfall, and “Weather Reports” is an amicable dueling of the flutes, blowing lightly along with cheery guitar, drum thumps and Wand’s floral voice.

Like a gray day when the greenery is in full bloom, Sweater Weather placates while it elevates, a nice companion to springtime gloom. Any day you think you may need to wear a sweater, you may think to pop in Sweater Weather, because it’ll complement the mood just right.

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