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Weatherbox - Flies in All Directions Album Cover

Weatherbox - Flies in All Directions

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9.0
Weatherbox - Flies in All Directions
Record Label: Triple Crown Records
Release Date: May 13, 2014
For all intents and purposes, Weatherbox is my new favorite band. Undeniably, Brian Warren’s musical vehicle bears striking resemblance to my former favorite band, Say Anything, and Flies in All Directions specifically reflects the neuroticism and technical abilities of punk-rock opus, …Is a Real Boy. But I didn’t come here to compare and contrast two, and I feel bad doing so in the slightest; Weatherbox doesn’t so much convey the sonic value of Say Anything as it does the quirky mindset that I’ve only connected with on a certain level with certain artists, and I think a certain audience will know exactly what I’m talking about. For that audience, Weatherbox has easily created an “album of the year”.

Expanding on existential themes he’s well familiar with, opener “Pagan Baby” explodes as Warren bursts into lines like “You heard we were a good band, but you didn’t hear it from us” and “If you want to start living, you’re gonna have to leave me behind/’Cause I’m a Pagan, baby, and I’m staying indoors tonight”. From there, the band weaves in and out of upbeat rockers (the catchiest of the bunch being “Radio Hive”) and slow-burners (“the Devil and Whom,” which we will discuss more in a moment). “Bring Us the Head of Weatherbox” continues the tongue-in-cheek, feel-good vibes of the opener with a rock ‘n roll riff that fits comfortably in your ears and refuses to leave. “The Drones” is easily the most Bemis-esque song here, featuring clever wordplay and call-and-return gang vocals of “Magic carpet!/We’ve gotta go, are you ready or not?”.

Standouts “Drag Out” and “the Devil and Whom” find themselves in mostly opposite territory, the former being the album’s most representative track and the latter building itself up to epic proportions, at which point Manchester Orchestra frontman Andy Hull gets his say (an Easter egg for fans of both bands- Hull sings about “getting back to ‘the Mansion,'" a song from Manchester Orchestra’s recent album, Cope, in which he sings and shares a line with Warren regarding “the Devil and I”). “Drag Out” contains Warren’s most reflective lyrics yet (“Don’t freeze me in weak little frames/Don’t picture me perfect ‘cause I don’t look so great/I won’t hack a hedge in the maze/I won’t find myself until I look in the last place”) and prides itself upon a massive chorus before technical guitars bring the song to a close.

Lyrically, Warren sticks closely to his thoughts on existential crisis, religion, and spirituality while occasionally steering into the territory of people we’ve lost. “We used to have so much fun together; do you remember?” he asks on “The Fresh Prints of Bill Ayers,” before later begging you not to let him through the gates on “Kickflips.” There are numerous references to the devil, particularly in career highlight and closer “Love Me a Good Microcosm,” in which Warren’s unmatched wordplay insists “When I hear the doorbell, I’ll run and cover up my sulfur smell/Untangle my hair, hood my horns to greet you/Don’t look at them, look at what’s underneath you/We’re in the clouds, right above Jerusalem/Don’t mind the flies, baby you’ll get used to them.” If it sounds all too serious, Flies in All Directions spends an equal amount of time in confidence and celebration; look no further than the electronic buzz of “Bathin’ in the Fuss” and great goofy fun of “the Last White Lighter”.

In fact, the only time Flies in All Directions isn’t quite on point is throughout the equally messy and aggressive “Ghost Malls”. “Ghost Malls” winds up being distracting and an interruption to the album’s flow (much like “An Orgy of Critics” was …Is a Real Boy’s only downfall). The rest of Flies, however, finds Warren and co. crafting a quirky album filled with catchy and sonically technical thoughts on life, death, and what comes next. There’s so much to be said about a record like this, that as a writer and reviewer, I am ultimately torn between how much I should tell you and how much I should let the listener discover for themselves. In the end, this is the kind of album I wait for each year; the kind that resonates on all levels, connecting deeply and personally enough to ensure that it wherever I go, Flies in All Directions won’t be far behind me. Maybe, if you’re lucky, it will be that album for you, too.

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This review is a user submitted review from Vance Mook. You can see all of Vance Mook's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 20
10:17 AM on 06/05/14
#2
Bryan GribbIe
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I disagree with a handful of your assessments, particularly on Ghost Malls, but this is well written.

I like the tie-in of the first and last songs, he talks about keeping a "hoodied-head" in Pagan Baby and then references hooding his horns in Microcosm. I thought that was really cool
10:49 AM on 06/05/14
#3
jdr277
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Weatherbox has been a favorite band of mine since "American Art" was released. I don't see anyone knocking FIAD from my AOTY 2014 pedestal, which is a relief because after a 5yr wait it becomes difficult to live up to the hype. Luckily Warren does it with ease. This didn't initially take first place so far this year but with each listen it quickly climbed the ladder as I dove deeper into Warren's brilliant lyrics.
12:06 PM on 06/05/14
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TimTheMechanic
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Really good review Vance, I'm like you in that Weatherbox has climbed to the top of my favorite bands list with this album alone. Such a fantastic record.
06:11 PM on 06/05/14
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glattim
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I disagree with a handful of your assessments, particularly on Ghost Malls, but this is well written.

I like the tie-in of the first and last songs, he talks about keeping a "hoodied-head" in Pagan Baby and then references hooding his horns in Microcosm. I thought that was really cool
I'm with you on this. Great review, but Ghost Malls is such an important part of the spine of this record. If you've been a fan since American Art, since the heavier. darker stuff, you need Ghost Malls. Shows the more experimental, psychedelic side of Weatherbox. A few of the other songs were too poppy on first pass but I've grown to love them. Definitely my favorite band and love this record.
06:12 PM on 06/05/14
#6
Vance Mook
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I disagree with a handful of your assessments, particularly on Ghost Malls, but this is well written.

I like the tie-in of the first and last songs, he talks about keeping a "hoodied-head" in Pagan Baby and then references hooding his horns in Microcosm. I thought that was really cool
Thanks- what other sentiments don't you agree with in the review? Just curious to hear a different perspective of the album haha
06:13 PM on 06/05/14
#7
Vance Mook
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Really good review Vance, I'm like you in that Weatherbox has climbed to the top of my favorite bands list with this album alone. Such a fantastic record.
Thanks for reading!
06:18 PM on 06/05/14
#8
Vance Mook
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I'm with you on this. Great review, but Ghost Malls is such an important part of the spine of this record. If you've been a fan since American Art, since the heavier. darker stuff, you need Ghost Malls. Shows the more experimental, psychedelic side of Weatherbox. A few of the other songs were too poppy on first pass but I've grown to love them. Definitely my favorite band and love this record.
Maybe it's a personal thing then (this next part kind of goes to jdr277 too, sorry guys, multiquote's not working for me at the moment) because this is the first Weatherbox album I've discovered. I've heard great things about American Art, haven't heard much about the Cosmic Drama, and I was worried that my review might be lacking without this backstory, but obviously, I enjoyed the record so much that I felt compelled to write about it.

Usually "darker" and "heavier" are adjectives that make me enjoy music more haha but I do think the pop sensibilities fit well here throughout the record. Not too overbearing, but enough to hook themselves in your head after the first couple listens.
06:41 PM on 06/05/14
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glattim
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Maybe it's a personal thing then (this next part kind of goes to jdr277 too, sorry guys, multiquote's not working for me at the moment) because this is the first Weatherbox album I've discovered. I've heard great things about American Art, haven't heard much about the Cosmic Drama, and I was worried that my review might be lacking without this backstory, but obviously, I enjoyed the record so much that I felt compelled to write about it.

Usually "darker" and "heavier" are adjectives that make me enjoy music more haha but I do think the pop sensibilities fit well here throughout the record. Not too overbearing, but enough to hook themselves in your head after the first couple listens.
Thanks for your response, respect! Honestly I should have said this first, but I loved reading this review. Gets me excited for this record all over again when I hear someone else who's connecting with it on a personal level. I do think that once you hear American Art and Cosmic Drama, you'll get a wider sense of how Ghost Malls fits into the big scheme of things. But it's aggressive, post-rock, and I can definitely see the relation with Orgy of Critics. Good comparison, but of course, some people love Orgy of Critics haha (the second half always gets me).

...Is A Real Boy was my favorite record and SA was my favorite band until The Cosmic Drama came out. I loved American Art and was pretty obsessed with it but when TCD came out I had just fallen in love with Vonnegut and Sirens of Titan and it felt like the universe was smiling back... just an incredibly personal and powerful record for me that got me through the shitty parts of college. Obviously highly suggest it.
07:04 PM on 06/05/14
Vance Mook
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Thanks for your response, respect! Honestly I should have said this first, but I loved reading this review. Gets me excited for this record all over again when I hear someone else who's connecting with it on a personal level. I do think that once you hear American Art and Cosmic Drama, you'll get a wider sense of how Ghost Malls fits into the big scheme of things. But it's aggressive, post-rock, and I can definitely see the relation with Orgy of Critics. Good comparison, but of course, some people love Orgy of Critics haha (the second half always gets me).

...Is A Real Boy was my favorite record and SA was my favorite band until The Cosmic Drama came out. I loved American Art and was pretty obsessed with it but when TCD came out I had just fallen in love with Vonnegut and Sirens of Titan and it felt like the universe was smiling back... just an incredibly personal and powerful record for me that got me through the shitty parts of college. Obviously highly suggest it.
Haha thanks for reading and commenting on it! Always happy to talk music/writing. Glad you enjoyed it. I'll have to stream them both at work Monday; I remember hearing the first track from American Art and thinking it sound fairly different/heavier after listening to this record. Then I had finals in the morning and had to cut the listen short haha. Part of why I love bands like SA, and now Weatherbox, is for the variety in their songs (that somehow still manage to create coherent records) and how polarizing they can be- just look at the reaction to Hebrews.

I love Vonnegut (and TCD's artwork homage), so as much as you can't force a connection like that, hearing you say that and my love for this record combined have me ecstatic to check it out! Especially with what I'm sure will be more shitty parts of college coming up next year haha.
07:53 PM on 06/05/14
Bryan GribbIe
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Thanks- what other sentiments don't you agree with in the review? Just curious to hear a different perspective of the album haha
The Drones-to-Say Anything comparison lost me. And not talking about Dark All Night For Us. That's probably the best Weatherbox song yet. Also I personally think that comparing one album to another throughout a review doesn't really do it justice. Everything else though is like dead-on, especially about the first 2 tracks.

And yeah, Ghost Malls is a pretty cool combination of old stuff and new stuff. A lot of songs like Bathin' In the Fuss and Pagan Baby don't have a lot of breathing room musically; Brian sings like the entire time over those songs. So a more instrumental-driven track like Ghost Malls is essential.
08:06 PM on 06/05/14
Vance Mook
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The Drones-to-Say Anything comparison lost me. And not talking about Dark All Night For Us. That's probably the best Weatherbox song yet. Also I personally think that comparing one album to another throughout a review doesn't really do it justice. Everything else though is like dead-on, especially about the first 2 tracks.

And yeah, Ghost Malls is a pretty cool combination of old stuff and new stuff. A lot of songs like Bathin' In the Fuss and Pagan Baby don't have a lot of breathing room musically; Brian sings like the entire time over those songs. So a more instrumental-driven track like Ghost Malls is essential.
"Dark All Night" is great, but it didn't hit me nearly as much as "Drag Out" did- I understand it's a fan favorite though. I tried to keep my comparisons at bay and only really mention it a few times (which I felt was unavoidable, because it was such a selling point for me). Appreciate the thoughts, though- you guys are making me excited to discover the rest of the discography. Thanks for reading!
08:12 PM on 06/05/14
Bryan GribbIe
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No problem! Maybe it's taboo to talk about other music sites on AP, but I wrote a review of American Art, and it's on Sputnik. Check that out if you're interested, but I also have links there for where you can download the album for free.
11:25 PM on 06/05/14
Vance Mook
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No problem! Maybe it's taboo to talk about other music sites on AP, but I wrote a review of American Art, and it's on Sputnik. Check that out if you're interested, but I also have links there for where you can download the album for free.
Seriously? Hell yeah dude, I'll check it out and get back to you! While I do it, here's a link to the site I'm running with Zac Djamoos: it's only been up for a year, but it's just a creative outlet for our reviews, interviews and other unique content. I'm posting an exclusive interview with Dreamtifgers tomorrow, as well as a review of their debut LP. It's this cool indie-folk band with two of the Defeater guys.

http://fastestkidinschool.com/
05:38 AM on 06/06/14
Bryan GribbIe
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Seriously? Hell yeah dude, I'll check it out and get back to you! While I do it, here's a link to the site I'm running with Zac Djamoos: it's only been up for a year, but it's just a creative outlet for our reviews, interviews and other unique content. I'm posting an exclusive interview with Dreamtifgers tomorrow, as well as a review of their debut LP. It's this cool indie-folk band with two of the Defeater guys.

http://fastestkidinschool.com/
I'm looking into it for sure.

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