I don’t think it’s that much of a secret that John K. Samson is one of Canada’s most fiercely intelligent, talented, and flat-out important artists. His work with Propagandhi is the stuff of Canadian punk legend and his work with his current band, The Weakerthans, just keeps getting better and better. Case in point, Reunion Tour, one of the finest records of 2007.
Reunion Tour seems to have had a lengthy gestation period as it comes nearly four years after the last record by The Weakerthans – but the record is all the better for it. Each song manages to perfectly encapsulate a moment, a feeling or an idea. In the case of Elegy for Gump Worsley, for example, the band spin a delicate, subdued tribute to a Canadian hockey legend who passed away earlier this year.
In fact, this is one of the most “Canadian” records I’ve heard in a very long time. While the Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Feist, and the Wolf Parade/Sunset Rubdown/Handsome Furs conglomerate tend to grab most of the Canadian indie rock headlines, it is The Weakerthans that most accurately capture (whether intentionally or not) the sounds, the stories, and the psyche of Canada and Canadians.
This is not to say the record has a narrow focus, far from it. I really believe it’s a fabulous piece of work with universal appeal. From the crashing opener Civil Twilight through the melodic Sun In an Empty Room to the closing slide guitar of Utilities, Reunion Tour never falters. Seldom does a record come around that hits every note it strives for. Reunion Tour does.