Hailing from Seattle, but arriving seemingly out of nowhere, Welcome are both distinct and familiar, at once drawing the listener in, and suggesting worlds of possibilities. An essentially traditional line-up of guitar bass and drums, dual (often double-tracked) vocals, and a couple of guitars (admittedly augmented by some unconventional home made pedals and FX), the band appearing on ‘Sirs’ comprises Jo Claxton (bass, vocals), Jon Treneff (drums), Pete Brand (Vocals, Guitar), and Mike Wurn (Guitar).
Formed over ten years ago, Welcome have taken their own sweet time to find their voice, making allowances in their schedule to accommodate other bands, projects, and a lengthy hiatus, before returning with a newfound focus. In fact, the origins of the band go back as far as 1993, where founding members Pete and Mike wrote and recorded songs on a cassette 4 track while cycling through drummers. From 1994 to 2000 Dean Whitmore joined on drums, and the band recording several demos, two singles, an EP. Their only full length release ‘Sun As Nightlight’ (RX Remedy), was also recorded during that time.
Thereafter Dean left to refocus on his other projects (The Intelligence, Double Fudge,The Diapers and Unnatural Helpers), and Welcome slowly morphed into something new. Jo Claxton joined on Bass and Jon Treneff took up the on Drums. By 2005, a new record beckoned, and basic tracks for ‘Sirs’ were recorded over a weekend in Pete and Jo’s basement - mostly live, first or second takes, with the recordings then tweaked and mixed over the following month. It’s an immediate and immensely detailed recording that retains freshness and still has the ability to jolt and surprise many listens on.
Dynamic, stunningly arranged, and prone to fly off at unpredictable angles, ‘Sirs’ possesses a gnarled beauty very much Welcome’s own. Melodic, Rhythmic and sonically ambitious, the record sits somewhere between the fractured, exploratory idealism of 60’s psych pop (The Creation, Revolver-era Beatles, Syd Barrett), and such non-conformist US alt/rock luminaries as Unwound, The Breeders and Deerhoof.
Just after the recording of the album, Jon Treneff left the band to pursue other projects, and Welcome recruited PJ from local bands The Lights and The Unnatural Helpers. It’s worth noting that despite the initial disparate appearance there is an unusual amount of crossover in each others projects at varying points - which partially explains both the lengthy hiatus, the gradual heightening of focus, and their depth of field. PJ continues to play in the aforementioned bands to this day, as does Pete in his other band Mars Accelerator, and Mike in his three other bands, Unnatural Helpers, Grow Fins, and Sick Bees. Pete also used to be in Sick Bees, and Get Bunny Love. Mike’s previous bands included Double Fudge and The Intelligence, along with original drummer Dean. Jo was also in The Intelligence for a while. She has also (amongst other things) played violin on records by Mudhoney.