Pins & Pricks: The Weeknd, House Of Balloons.

With names and speculation bounding around and about Toronto's The Weeknd, anonymity appears to be back on the blogosphere agenda and one suspects you'll need more than a blunted drawing pin or two to pop the truth in this House Of Balloons. More mixtape than LP per se, The Weeknd is composed of saccharine R'n'B vocals courtesy of Abel Tesfaye which are then smothered lavishly over a myriad of contorted indie samples cobbled together by producers Doc McKinney and Illangelo. And they've risen shaven heads (possibly, although distorted press shots are few and far between) and shoulders above all the post-SXSW hyperbole, presumably aided both by the fact they're signed to Drake's label and by the best album artwork since the feline fiascos of yesteryear. There's elements of traditional chart fodder here, Tesfaye hipping and hopping to lyrics revolving lecherously around the objectification of women, blow jobs and the like (see The Party & The After Party) yet glimmering atop a hacked up Master of None there's a resplendent D.I.Y. retroism here showcased that's more sensual aural pleasure than sordid oral sex. The vaguely avant-garde Beach House cut and paste sampling continues on Loft Music, Gila churned up with slow groove slump as if rolling about in a lawnmower with Vox reverb, Logic and a forlorn Stratocaster, Tesfaye in twisted serenade mode, again inciting feminine disrobing. He croons: "I'm only fucking twenty, girl" and it seems as though drawing pins aren't the only pricks key to unlocking this House. They're happy to do it in the living room, apparently. What You Need, featuring androgynous treated vocals atop ambient house is disconcertingly addictive like the inhalation of toxic fumes, whilst the title track sounds somewhere along the lines of MJ fronting SALEM's most unnerving witch house. Wicked Game is as suave as power balladry gets, as life-affirming as Mr. West at his most sky-tickling as further central themes to House Of Balloons are laid bare: namely drugs and fame. Fame and drugs. And whilst it seems The Weeknd are after all this and more, besides your undivided, unrelenting devotion, it's presumably precisely what they'll get. Most probably just what they deserve.

  The Weeknd - Coming Down by The_Weeknd

Stream the whole damn thing over at The Weeknd's Soundcloud.