Heart of the Order is the second full-length release by California native and singer/songwriter/guitarist Will Weston, this time supported by a tightly knit, six-man brass and percussion ensemble. Following the release and subsequent tour for his debut album Quiet, Sirens, which hit the streets of the west coast in 2012, Heart of the Order furthers Weston’s ever-developing, placed-based sound that captures the contemporary landscape of the San Francisco Bay Area. Continuing the musical manifestation of Weston’s experiences in the city he cannot seem to escape, his sophomore album delves deeper into life in one of North America’s most colourful cities.
The ten-track album opens with “Permanent Echo,” a soft, feel-good pop number that throws the imagination into dreams of top-down, sun-filled drives along the northern California coast along which it was conceived. From here the septet swing into “Moments & Magazines,” the second track laced with funky rhythm guitar breaks. Backed by choir-esque vocals, after a few listens it becomes difficult not to bob along to.
The tracks flow seamlessly through one another, never straying too far from that upbeat-yet-almost-breezy, fun, Californian sound and feeling. Navigating through a few keyboard-heavy tracks such as “Oblivion Song” and “Tell Me,” the album reaches a refreshingly heavy crescendo in “Search Engine.” For the first time the bass and percussion take the lead and are followed by the horn section. “Search Engine” has the potential to take off in the direction of the west-coast California ska sound it pays homage to. Just when you think the album might proceed in either the pop or ska-like directions displayed by its first two quarters, Weston leads his listeners into a realm of bluesy yet funky paradise, with the aid of instrumental pieces such as Cyril Guirsax’s sax solo in “One Step.” Coming towards the end of the album, be prepared for the last few tracks to leave you wanting more.
On the one hand, the best parts of Heart of Order are those that are intertwined in the dynamics between the supporting ensemble. It is these moments that seem to carve the way for Weston’s inoffensive vocals and lyrics. However, following the album to its end you will find “Hands Up,” a song that captures and solidifies Weston’s diverse capabilities, and his impressively fluid song writing ability.
If you are craving some fun, easy listening that may surprise you, Heart of the Order contains just what you are looking for.
Written by Jordan Hodgins