Weatherbox - The Clearing
Release Date: November 7, 2006
Record Label: Doghouse Records
Alternative music has always been the vague musical genre into which critics and fans alike throw the odds and ends that don’t really fit anywhere else. Weatherbox is clearly one of those, although many will argue they are more post-hardcore than anything. The Clearing is their first EP for Doghouse Records, and the San Diego-based band intends it to be a prelude to their debut full-length, which we will see sometime in early 2007.
With a gritty production scheme emphasizing Justin Green’s drumming and Brian Warren’s nasal howls, “Snakes, Our Ground” certainly is not what one would expect from a band whose Myspace describes them as pop music. Equal parts Say Anything and The Matches, the song is bound to raise a few eyebrows. “The Thinnest of Maps” and “The Clearing” both fall into similar musical styles. Predictably, the heavy bass drum returns as Weatherbox dances from the outskirts of accessibility into a familiar sound that neither inspires nor detracts from their sound. As a Bemis knockoff, Warren still needs some work, as “Cowboy Mountain” shows. The lyrics are interesting, but his voice gets downright annoying after awhile, as does the musical repetition. “Atoms Smash” finishes the EP as Weatherbox’s most ambitious bit of songwriting. Toning down the sung vocals instead, the band rolls through shouts and wails, which seem to work better. Except for the acoustic guitars of “Cowboy Mountain,” the guitar work remains almost static throughout the EP; this is one of the key gripes about The Clearing.
In a genre where either being unique or having money behind them is paramount to success, Weatherbox tends to be closer to the former. The Clearing shows both promise and need for improvement. Lyrically, the songs are solid and interesting, but they need to do more in eliminating repetition and creating some slicker riffs to fit their “thinking man’s” lyrics. Until then, this EP would be a cautious buy for fans of Say Anything. Falling somewhere into the blurred category of post-hardcore, Weatherbox have shown some potential with their debut EP for Doghouse. Whether they can flesh it out for a full album, only time will tell.