Weatherbox Takes Flight

Uncategorized, Winter 2015

Boston College




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by Thomas Matthews

“You heard we were a good band; well, you didn’t hear it from us.”

So sings Brian Warren, front man of the San Diego band Weatherbox, on “Pagan Baby,” a track from the band’s 2014 release, Flies In All Directions.  

Triple crown records

Triple crown records

Cocky? Coy? Disingenuous? Who can say? But it’s true, and this latest album proves it.

Weatherbox is most often labeled a “punk rock” band, but the loosely used label doesn’t do the band justice. While Weatherbox most certainly has punk roots, they blend a wide variety of styles into their unique sound, which ranges from the mellowness of the acoustic to blistering, chaotic rock, and even some synth-rock (see ‘Bathin’ In the Fuss’). Over it all hover Warren’s introspective, sometimes brooding lyrics.

Weatherbox has never had a solid lineup. With constantly changing band members, Warren has done the grunt work of structuring and writing all the songs, and just filling in the gaps with people who can play his songs, which demand experienced, advanced musicians.

Flies In All Directions is a great display of the band’s versatility. The album opens with pop-punk anthem “Pagan Baby,” a jam-packed, two minutes and twenty-eight seconds of tight, relentlessly loud rock. After just one listen to this song you’ll be sure to conjure plenty of dirty, confused looks in response to your singing along to lyrics: “It’s such a nice day, let’s stay inside/ it’s such a nice day; we’ve got a lot of time/ nice day.” Warren sings seemingly senseless lyrics as catchy as anything by McCartney or Springsteen.

Warren uses his lyrics and music as a sort of therapy to flush out the demons of mental health that he has had to overcome.

                           brian warren / triple crown records

                           brian warren / triple crown records

He details this in an article in MTV’s Buzzworthy: “I was convinced of awful delusions,” he said, referring to the time their first album, American Art, was released. He hallucinated about “men in disturbing prosthetics, caricatures of my friends but with sharp teeth and arched eyebrows. At another point I thought I was a ghost a million years in the future, where a holographic overlay of 2006 obscured reality and a semi-hostile robotic intelligence had replaced all of humanity.” In an interview with Interview Magazine he described his delusions as part of a series of intense nervous breakdowns he began to have while making his second album, The Cosmic Drama.

As to Flies In All Directions: “This record is taking all of those delusions and making a storyline that’s positive.”The epiphany came after a nervous breakdown he suffered in 2009. “I was at this party standing there, it probably didn’t look like much, but in my head all the years of delusions sort of coalesced into this one story,” he said.

Warren tried to communicate the torment of psychosis in his interview with Interview Magazine: “it’s weird because I’d have to explain psychosis, which is a really hard thing to do. All these delusions are created and then the psychotic mind can easily shove them into this one category.” His lyrics seem better suited to express the feeling of being plagued by hallucinations and psychosis. In “The Fresh Prints of Bill Ayers” he sings, “And I received a deleted memory of you and me/ On the run from a team of sickening police forever/ We used to have such fun together/ Do you remember?”

But it’s not all about Warren and his struggles. On the album’s captivating closing song, “Love Me A Good Microcosm,” he sings: “Cause you can glorify the Old Pages and be responsible for the New Cages/ Or you can say ‘to hell with me’ and you can get creative,” detailing the damaging effects obeying dated religious texts have on society, including the loss of  critical thinking.

Weatherbox has made a triumphant step forward in the evolution of its sound with Flies In All Directions. We see the band tackle thirteen tracks and craft each with precise attention to detail. Warren told Interview Magazine he even took some classes on using audio software so he could communicate in the studio the exact sound he wanted. Did it pay off? I would say yes, definitely. While the metaphorical lyrics and abrasive, dark tones of songs like “The Drones” and “Ghost Malls” may be hard for the unfamiliar listener to get into, the album has plenty of welcoming songs as catchy as those of any indie/punk/pop/rock band.

You can buy the album from Triple Crown Records here  

Below, listen to “Bring Us The Head Of Weatherbox” and watch “Pagan Baby” performed live at  Audio Tree Studios, both from Flies In All Directions.

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Contributing Editor Thomas Matthews studies English at Clark University.

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