Surprise! Rody Walker and Mike Ieradi of Protest The Hero have teamed up with Dan Hay of The Fully Down to produce an LP called… er, Surprise!. Awkward introductions aside, this mini supergroup is called Mystery Weekend, and they’re dedicated to playing the skate punk that they grew up with. To get a better feel for the debut LP, coming out February 17, I figured I’d check out its first single, called "The Obscenity Prayer."
Honestly, it starts off a bit shaky. In the first verse, Walker’s vocals create an ambitious, nuanced melody that the other instruments don’t quite mesh with. The guitar, drums, etc. create a steady backbone for the song, but the vocals dance around so much that the combined sound is somewhat awkward.
The good news is it only gets better from there. In both lyrics and performance, the often playful Walker reveals his sincere, vulnerable side. He opens up about his insecurities and imperfections, and even with lyrics aside, in his voice you can just hear that his heart is in it.
A gorgeous chorus opens up into another iffy verse section, but just past the 2:30 mark, a beautiful bridge-like section begins. From here on out Walker’s vocals are at their most impressive and downright touching, with tasteful violins sprinkled into the background. And if you weren’t sold yet, just wait until the final 60 seconds, and you’ll be floored.
Overall, this is a surprisingly melancholy, polished, and thoughtful song from a band that wants to focus on skate punk, and I mean that in a good way. Especially given that second single "Theodore" is much more aggressive, "The Obscenity Prayer" indicates that although this ensemble hasn’t perfected their sound just yet, they’re willing to take some risks. And for the most part, they’re paying off.