T-Shirt Weather are a classic guitar,bass, drums trio made up of Patxi, Tom and Andrew.
To answer this we’ll start with the gloriously self-effacing summary from Tom, “We play a pace-y, personal, scruffy pop punk. It was meant to sound like The Beatles, but it came out like silly North East Green Day, and we’re running with it”. Whilst we certainly agree that T-Shirt Weather don’t sound at all like The Beatles, we’d also argue they’re a lot more interesting than Green Day. New album Pig Beach is a record that whistles by at break-neck speed, combining the ferocious good times of punk and some unmistakably poppy hooks. A record of contradictions, it’s on the one hand lo-fi and ramshackle but with the addition of string sections and regular brass-flourishes it’s also a quietly ambitious affair.
T-Shirt Weather, although now located in various cities around the UK, are originally and proudly from the city of Durham. Located in the North-East of England, archaeological evidence suggests there has been a settlement at the location of modern day Durham since as long ago as 2000 BC, although estimates suggest the modern city can be traced back to around AD 995 when some monks took a liking to it’s strategically advantageous high peninsula. The City of Durham is famous for its world class University as well as it’s two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a Norman Cathedral and an 11th Century Castle. Durham has produced some famous comedians, including Rowan Atkinson, Stan Laurel and Tony Blair. Musically it’s perhaps been less successful, all though they can boast to be the home of Prefab Sprout and one time Oasis guitarist Gem Archer, in more recent years the city has become famous for a thriving punk scene producing acts such as Martha, ONSIND and No Ditching, although some might point out that involves a lot of shared members.
Tom and Andrew initially met when they were sharing managing Durham’s finest tiny live-music venue Fishtank, although it wasn’t until 2011 that they formed T-Shirt Weather and began their musical journey. They have since gone on to release a serious of humorously/daftly named records; 2012’s debut EP, Is This The End For Zombie Shakespeare?, a single called Beyonce Eyes and their debut album 2013’s Having A Bad Time. This month will see their latest release, their second album Pig Beach, which will see the light of day on OddBox Records.
In many ways T-Shirt Weather are a band who live up to what we’ve come to expect from the great and good of North-East bands. There’s the unmistakably accents, the layered vocal harmonies, the spiky stop-start rhythms and most importantly the sense that music doesn’t always have to be entirely serious. Take opening track Devin O’Leary, it is the same winning mix of lyrical insecurity and spiky-guitar-punk that makes Martha such a thrilling prospect only with the addition of a string section.
Step away from the obvious local comparisons though and this is a band who in the pursuit of a perfect blast of pop-punk aren’t afraid to throw in the sound of what is clearly a very broad range of influences. There’s the trumpet melody in stand-out track The Undersigned surely lifted straight from Little Richard’s version of The Girl Can’t Help It, Sometimes starts off like The Undertones then in the round singing of the outro takes in hints of Idlewild’s early output, whilst closing track Losing You may initially sound like it was recorded on an iPhone in a very small cupboard, but by the time the chorus kicks in there’s more than a hint of a We Are Scientists like pop-banger.
For the most part this is a pure joyous blast, but lurking below the big dumb pop hooks are plenty of articulately express emotions; My Dad’s Black Polo takes aim at sepia-tinged nostalgia, “reminiscing is fun and all, but I think there’s some things you can’t recall”, whilst Losing You is a tender take on the subject of grief and loss. They never let the serious stuff get in the way for too long though, and on the giddy thrills of single Gum, resplendent with joyous brass and sexual innuendo, or When You Hear, which ends with a shriek so happy it could be Noddy Holder, there’s probably no band having a better time than T-Shirt Weather right now.
Not for the faint of heart, it’s a record that revels in saying everything it’s got to say in as little time as possible; indeed there’s only one real shift in tempo for the oddly tender slide-guitar and military drum laden ballad, Spaghetti Western. That said who needs to slow down, there’s only eight songs, and for the vast majority of them, you are expected, nay required to be bouncing around like a grinning loon to.
Pig Beach is out January 26th via Oddbox Records. T-Shirt Weather have a handful of upcoming live dates, click HERE for details.