Weather Machines The Sound of Pseudoscience

The latest bit of rock-solid proof that great music can emerge in the most unlikely of places comes via Rapid City, South Dakota’s the Weather Machines. On this 12-song debut CD, the mixed-gender quartet jump headfirst into timeless, melodic guitar rock territory and manage to successfully maintain a four-decade stylistic straddle throughout. Guitarist/vocalist Jason Ward is the closest thing to a hybrid of Irish quaverer Feargal Sharky and the late, great Chris Bell that you’re ever likely to hear. Voices and vocal styles aside, those two artists’ respective bands — the Undertones and Big Star — could well be considered influences of the Weather Machines overall sound. Despite his previous membership in Rapid City garage-pop unit the Bee Eaters (along with WM bassist Ali DeMersseman), Ward is apparently best known in local circles for his studio engineering work. That explains the obvious attention paid to the production here. Still, Ward’s console skills don’t seem to take anything away from his performance savvy. Unlike so many tourists frequenting Walldrug and the Corn Palace, there’s little or no fat on this catchy, impressively consistent release. (City Canyons)