Follow The Rattle Of The Afghan Guitar EP

Written by: DR on 12/01/2012 19:44:58

It's time to get reviewing again, but before we can submerge ourselves in 2012 we have a 'few' leftovers from 2011. The first of which is Weatherbox's rather interestingly titled vinyl-only EP, "Follow the Rattle of the Afghan Guitar". If you aren't familiar with Weatherbox, they rose from the ashes of the now-defunct My American Heart, in the sense that they are fronted by Brian Warren. They also have a staggeringly long past members list.

I only ever had a passing familiarity with My American Heart, but they seemed a band who knew who to write a decent melody, which should give an indication as to Weatherbox's pop sensibilities. This is nowhere more evident than in opener "Secret Muslim", a track that threatens something bombastic with crunchy rhythm guitars in the opening section, but this is gradually ousted with Warren's soft vocal melodies and even cooing "ooohhh" in the background taking control. This is the story for most of the release. Not that this is a band thing, however, because while initially jarring at first, the marriage of thick guitar-chords, lyrics that vaguely seem centred around army-life in Afghanistan, and Warren's natural knack for sweet melodies, is ultimately one that works. Not that the first three songs boast this, though.

"My Head" opts to be a straight-forward pop-rock slice, but the hook is a little weak to be sticking in the minds of listeners, while "Mountain" is a little more spacious and subtle in its approach initially, somewhat promisingly, yet the thick riffs this time seem a little intruding between atmoshperic guitar-work. These aren't particularly bad songs, though. They just suffer from being, quite simply, inferior to the following three.

The gem of the album is "Heavy Map". It is, again, more spacious in its approach for parts, but the main selling-point is how Warren is more introspective in his lyrics. His delivery is more drawn-out, even angsty, as he croons "I know my head has never been a friend of mine", before screaming in parts to really emphasise the inner-turmoil. The jagged and funky "Broken Glowsticks" is one of the more immediate tracks, and mid-paced "The Bullets", despite its rather forced lyrics, is a solid effort to see out the album.

In conclusion, the first half of the album is more overshadowed than it really should be by the second half, but it's hard to be too harsh on what is generally a good, if not spectacular, listen. If you're into pop-rock in the slightest, Weatherbox are probably not a band you should be sleeping on.


Download: Heavy Map, Broken Glowsticks
For The Fans of: Mansions, Person L, The Starting Line, Look Mexico
Listen: Bandcamp

Release Date 04.10.2011
Youth Conspiracy Records

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