Weatherbox’s Brian Warren takes you a trip down the rabbit hole on his track.
At first listen, “Pagan Baby” from San Diego rock outfit Weatherbox sounds like the type of expertly crafted, perfectly polished post-punk rock that would fit in nicely on a playlist with the likes of The Hold Steady and Dismemberment Plan. It’s got the hard-punching power-chords, careening tempo, and shout-along vocals that make you want to throw your arms around your friends and sing yourself hoarse.
But the lyrics belie a cheerless place: “You were screaming you were a gypsy,” Brian Warren sings. “Nice to meet you./ Now go away. / I wanna be alone.”
Weatherbox’s long-awaited third LP, Flies In All Directions, (out on May 13 on Triple Crown Records / Favorite Gentlemen), catalogs some hopeless, harrowing, and dark days (years, actually) for the band, and for Warren in particular. Injuries, stolen equipment (that road life), fights, drugs, and Warren’s own personal demons linger around the edges of what at first sounds like rays of optimism.
“I was convinced of awful delusions,” Warren says of the psychosis and hallucinations that plagued him in the years around the release of their debut, American Art. “I’d see men in disturbing prosthetics, caricatures of my friends but 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.”
“It’s such a nice day,” Warren sings. Weatherbox’s days past haven’t always been bright, but for fans of the project, things are certainly looking up. “Let’s stay inside,” he goes on in the chorus. The new album is a pretty good excuse to do just that.
+ Listen to Weatherbox’s “Pagan Baby,” and pre-order Flies In All Directions.
Photo credit: Jonathan Weiner