Take it To the Man, Man


Follow the Rattle of the Aghan Guitar

Youth Conspiracy Records

Review by Kent Manthie


Formed in 2005 in San Diego, CA, Weatherbox is an Emo band started by Brian Warren, late, of My American Heart and Mister Valentine.

Originally Weatherbox was signed to Doghouse Records on which they released American Art, in May of ’07.  The band switched over recently to Youth Conspiracy Records shortly before their current release, Follow the Rattle of the Afghan Guitar.  A vinyl version of American Art is slated to be released in the near future under the aegis of Youth Conspiracy.  When Weatherbox recorded American Art they were made up of Warren (guitar and vocals), Marc Deriso (drums), Ryan Hill (bass) and Mike Longfield (guitar and vocals).

Between then and now Weatherbox has put out four EPs (The Clearing, 4 Songs, Manbox and Christpuncher (which gets my vote for coolest album title of the last 5 years!) Between the EPs Weatherbox managed to get out a few full-length CDs:  the aforementioned American Art, The Cosmic Drama and the one being reviewed here (Follow the Rattle of the Afghan Guitar, their debut for Youth Conspiracy Records).

One thing I found out is that in only the last seven years, Weatherbox has had amassed a huge personnel file – over 20 past members and four current ones, the only common denominator of them being Brian Warren.  I guess sometimes it takes a lot of turnover until you find the perfect combination of “emocity”  (that’s a made-up word).

As far as this album is concerned, Follow the Rattle of the Afghan Guitar, there is only six tunes on it – so it’s either a longer EP or a rather short LP, clocking in at around 25 minutes.  The first cut, “Secret Muslim” has a bit of a Saracen mystique to it, but it morphs into a jet-set, rock & roll cut to keep the kids happy.  “Mountain Heavy” is a catchy tune, one that has a beer-buzz, toe-tapping, kind of song that would keep spirits up on what otherwise might be a dull Saturday morning-afternoon:  preparing an empty, lonely club for the night’s festivities, something to listen to at work or even just lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, wondering what exactly what happened last night.  “Map” is a bit of a ‘softie’, not a ballad, but not a rocker either, a kind of introspective, conversational piece that gets something off its chest.

But of all the songs on Follow the Rattle… my favorite seems to be “Broken Glowsticks”, the catchiest and edgiest of tunes. It seems like a metaphor, of sorts – the song title, that is.  The lyrics are somewhat camouflaged and rusticated so as to befuddle anyone looking for meanings – hidden or otherwise.

The final tune is the epitome of an Emo song, “The Bullets” – it’s got some hooks, riffs and a couple different time changes that add up to a heartbreaking song, dollars to donuts that it’s dedicated to a girl named Susie.

Anyway, this is rock & roll, baby, like it or not and it’s not going anywhere, so get off your high, friggin’ horse and join all the rest of the kids at the dance and drink the punch with a couple shots of rum or whatever you were able to swipe from yer dad’s liquor cabinet.

Good times!  Great years – only the best of your lives, right?  So, no need for serious, intelligentsia, “Philosophy 101” yet – plenty of time for that later – next year or the year after, right?

Enjoy.  Play it loudly, the next time your parents go out of town and you throw a rager with all the cool people from school or crank it up when you’re home alone and stand in front of the mirror, aping all the cool moves you envision the singer doing on stage.  This is what it’s like to be young, carefree and living it up with your parents’ money in the suburbs.  Doesn’t get any better than that!  -KM


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