Vinyl Corner is a feature where we take a look at vinyl pressings of various albums and weigh them up to see just how good they sound, how well they’re pressed and what sort of packaging to expect – as well as giving a brief overview of the music itself. For the latest in the series, we’re finally getting a chance to look back at one of our favourite records of 2017, The Weather Station’s Self Titled fourth album.
We’ll cut to the chase: this album is spectacular. Tamara Lindeman has been working under the Weather Station name for the best part of a decade now each of her previous albums has been a significant evolution – and improvement – over its predecessor but none of her previous three albums attained the level of artistic maturity and accomplishment that her self titled fourth effort did. It’s a superbly realised record, one that couples beautifully written, deeply involving lyricism with a fluent, nuanced musical backing that doesn’t sacrifice complexity despite the accessibility of the its execution. For further thoughts on the album itself, read our original review of the album (here) and, while you’re at it, you may also want to check out our interview with Lindeman from November 2017 (here).
We’re looking at the US pressing released by Paradise Of Bachelors here – there is also a Canadian pressing available through Outside Music but we can’t comment on the quality of that pressing as we haven’t heard it, so bear in mind the following may only apply to the Paradise Of Bachelors pressing. Our experiences with the quality of vinyl releases from Paradise Of Bachelors have varied considerably in the past so we weren’t exactly sure what to expect with their version of this album but it’s a pleasant surprise throughout. First, the positive: pressing itself is really quite clean – there is a touch of noise audible here and there but generally playback is more or less silent, with little to no obvious surface noise even during the plentiful quiet portions of the album. Sonically it also sounds excellent by and large; ‘The Weather Station’ is really well recorded album and the lush string parts and punchy drums deserve a clear soundscape, which this pressing certainly provides. We did, however, find that the last song on each side suffers from a little inner groove distortion – possibly a little surprising given that the album isn’t actually that long. While that is a bit of a shame, the issue is not significant enough to render the songs unenjoyable and, by and large, we’re happy with how this pressing sounds. It’s also the best pressing we’ve heard so far from Paradise Of Bachelors. The record did come a little warped straight out of the shrink-wrap, however the issue isn’t significant and playback is not affected at all.
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Packaging is very solid on this release; the sleeve itself is much as you would expect on a non-deluxe, normal priced single LP; the card is decent stock – nothing too heavy but certainly not insubstantial. The art and printing is good quality throughout and the spine looks excellent with an attractive, bold font choice that makes the album easy to locate on the shelf. As with all Paradise Of Bachelors releases, there’s a hype sticker on the shrink-wrap giving a short write-up of the album in addition to the barcode, which thankfully means that it doesn’t sully the slick art direction by being printed on the sleeve itself. The back cover contains full lyrics for the whole album – a welcome inclusion as one of the album’s strongest aspects is its lyricism. Also included is a printed card inner sleeve giving credits for the various musicians found on the album; while we would always recommend storing records in polylined inner sleeves for maximum safekeeping, we certainly wouldn’t fault the quality of the printed inner included here.
‘The Weather Station’ is one of the essential albums of 2017, so it great to know that the vinyl version gets most things right. While it’s not a flawless pressing, it is a very good one that allows the album shrine through strongly.