Album Review: Nick Weaver - 'Won't Let Go'

20 October 2022 | 2:04 pm | Carley Hall

"It is wonderful to appreciate the talent that lives on forever in these tracks."

Music is powerful, that’s a no-brainer. But the power of music when you think about the ways in which we interact with it opens a deep, psychological rabbit hole. How it’s intangible but it holds a space within us and around us, evoking real emotional and physiological responses – think about this long enough and you soon realise just how wonderful it is that music simply exists. For artists who have departed this world for the next, listening to songs that started but never quite finished is clearly a mortally sad but special experience. 

For the family, friends and loved ones of Nick Weaver, the co-founder of Sydney psychedelic pop band Deep Sea Arcade, his passing during the midst of writing an album’s worth of solo material sparked their own journey to ensure his music wasn’t lost in the dark but brought to light and lived on with poignantly titled album Won’t Let Go.

Weaver’s battle with a rare cancer came to an end in April 2021 at the age of 37. It meant that a lot of the material he’d started on and was close to finishing was gently scooped up by friends and bandmates and finished with what they believed his vision for it was. The result is 13 tracks that drip with honest, reflective, brilliant lyricism, hazy indie-pop that weaves plenty of hooky melodic lines throughout. 

Largely written during the COVID-19 lockdowns and isolation, Weaver recorded all his vocals and played every instrument (except the drums). Taking on all of the songwriting and music production can have its downsides, with some musicians disappearing into their own worlds and failing to look up and get a lay of the land for what’s working and what’s not; it’s just not the case here. Weaver has created a collection of songs that are all connected by slinky strings of fuzzy guitars, his striking falsetto and intricate compositions that sit beneath his lyrics that express love, sincerity, beauty, loss, deception and more.

Opening track and single Cold Chills lets that falsetto shine across radiant guitars and a sombre chord progression, but there’s still an upbeat vibe overall that helps set the tone for preceding tracks. There is definitely some fun Tame Impala-like swagger emanating from Drive and Not In Her Way, and shimmering layers of riffs and bass slides abound in Sweet 16 and the title track. The darker edges keep the overall album vibe in balance, with Shapes In The Dark and Sunshine On Its Way providing offbeat melodies that take semitone dips amongst reverb-laden synths. 

It’s sad to wonder ‘what might have been’ had Won’t Let Go been released while Weaver still graced us with his unique presence. With a healthier appetite these days for jack-of-all-trades artists with solid touring bands flanking them, it’s easy to imagine that this album would have found a very willing audience. But, for now, it is wonderful to appreciate the talent that lives on forever in these tracks.

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