Weatherbox | Follow the Rattle of the Afghan Guitar (s/r)

 

cd weatherboxBrian Warren’s clever lyrics and carefully constructed songs should be enough to pull you in and admire what’s filling your ears.

 

 

Following the largely under-the-radar release of last year’s The Cosmic Drama, Weatherbox have returned, this time on their own label, with a six-song EP. Follow the Rattle of the Afghan Guitar proves that, yes, the band was fully deserving of that Doghouse Records signing. Too bad they didn’t get more time on the indie label to prove themselves.

But never mind. What’s important here is that singer/songwriter Brian Warren is still at it. His signature whine may be something of an acquired taste, but trust me: Once you get it, you really get it. His clever lyrics and carefully constructed songs should be enough to pull you in and admire what’s filling your ears.

Afghan Guitar is more rock than The Cosmic Drama, which focused a bit more onWarren’s eccentricities and less on the players behind him. What that means is that this is a more accessible release, one that should undoubtedly appeal to a broader audience. (See the label irony here?)

The guitar intro to opening track “Secret Muslim” is followed by a subdued guitar presentation and words that Warren carefully spits. Next up, “My Head” is a vigilantly picked adventure in rock, both straight ahead and contemplative. “Mountain” is playful, a track on which Warren stretches his voice into something that very nearly resembles…melodic singing? Yes, it’s true. This uniqueness sets the song apart as one of the EP’s best.

Kicking off the second half is “Heavy Map,” a stripped down, intentionally awkward songwriter venture that is more reminiscent of Cosmic Drama. On “The Bullets,”Warren delivers his lines as if they were shots. The “ooh ooh”s come as a welcome surprise, elements that keep the listeners on their toes. “The Bullets” seems more a singer-songwriter effort than anything else here; I’d be willing to bet it’s one of the times the band leaves the stage and the singer performs with an acoustic guitar by himself. Rounded out as it is here or stripped down as it would be solo, it’s a great song either way.

I’m glad Weatherbox—and Brian Warren—are back with such a strong bunch of tunes. Label or no, they’re truly on their way. B+ | Laura Hamlett

RIYL: Modest Mouse, Spouse, Bob Dylan

About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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