Sound — 9
A peculiar name, a song about evolution, originality, and the ability to stand out; all of which can be used to describe So-Cal indie-postpunk band Weatherbox, and their debut American Art. Refreshing, to say the least, the album retreads old territory, and emits a collection of songs full of eccentric guitar riffs, fascinating lyrics, and quirky melodies. The dual guitar work is as off the wall as that of Circa Survive or Gatsby's American Dream, using different melodies that somehow end up sounding euphonic and harmonious. Having a good relationship with Say Anything doesn't hurt either. A lot of the guitar melodies sound similar to something you might find in a Say Anything song. Led by guitarist/vocalist Brian Warren, formerly of My American Heart, Weatherbox proves that they want to stray from the all-too traveled path of modern music by making original, inspired, well written music. American Art is friendly enough to welcome the average listener, while appealing to those that really pay attention to detail. There's a lot of pressure in the modern music world to create music that stands out and is meaningful, and by blending some hard rock, and even some blues influences, Weatherbox accomplish just that. From Atoms Smash, to Trippin' The Life Fantastic, Weatherbox deliver a debut that is a great taste of things to come.
Lyrics — 9
Lyrically, Weatherbox are very strong. Brian Warren seems to take heed from buddy Max Bemis of Say Anything and even Jesse Lacey of Brand New (post Your Favorite Weapon) in the sense that they each have the maybe things are just messed up in the world and there's nothing I can do about it point of view. Not a pessimistic view, but a realistic one. Warren has an unconventional voice, fairly incomparable to any other current vocalist that I can think of. He sings emotionally and strong, which reflects his lyrics quite well. In the haunting Untitled, he tears himself to pieces, breaking his own bones in the form of his lyrics; I thought I was strong, I was just bouncing along, across, and over my guitar. Oh, I ruined everything, and I blame myself because there's no one else for me to blame. The lines show that he sees music as a cathartic medium that unfortunately really doesn't make him a better human being. Like any good writer, Warren uses a good dose of clever metaphors, one of the stronger ones from Moments Before the Smashing of Future Ryan; Yours is the only cancer I accept. It's you in my lungs and I cough you up for days. It effectively gets the point across in a stinging way. Warren never seems to run out of steam across American Art, and his lyrics stay strong throughout the album.
Overall Impression — 9
It's always tough to prepare for reviewing modern rock music, because it will either stand out and impress you, or just be a clone of things you've heard before. It's always a pleasure when it does stand out, like Weatherbox. Can you take a band seriously when their name is Weatherbox, and they have a song called 'A Flock Of Weatherboxes? In this case, yes, and it happens to be one of the stronger tracks on the album, the subject matter being an intervention of some sort, perhaps the search involved in order to get there. Each song has good value and is well written; no filler here. Each is distinct, and all of the songs can be recognized apart from each other. Weatherbox are a band that are unafraid to challenge the typical music style, and succeed in obtaining a persona without trying too hard or making the music sound forced. The lyrics are well inspired and relatable, well written and cohesive. The affable guitar work and the rough and powerful tone to Brian Warren's voice make American Art an excellent listen for fans of multiple genres. If you haven't already, buy (don't steal) this CD, buy merchandise, go to shows, and support them in any way you can. You won't be disappointed. Let's hope there's another flock of Weatherbox music sometime soon.