“You heard I was a nice boy/Well, you didn’t’ hear it from me/And I want to keep a hoodie head/Nice to meet you/Now go away/I want to be alone/It’s such a nice day,” singer/songwriter Brian Warren warns in “Pagan Baby,” the opening track of his newest LP, Flies In All Directions.
Under the emo-punk rock moniker Weatherbox, Warren is gritty, grimy, and outspoken. Flies In All Directions is a fascinating record thanks to Warren’s crude and biting lyrics, but musically, the record is limited.
Armed with 13 melodic and gloomy tracks, Warren takes his listeners on an emotional roller coaster ride, giving them a taste of his highs and lows in “Pagan Baby,” presenting his political viewpoints in “The Fresh Prints of Bill Ayers,” and refusing to go mainstream in “Radio Hive.”
Most of the songs are driven by the stripped down, punk-rock basics—guitar, drums, and bass—which Warren spices up with ever-shifting time signatures. But he does a better job of crafting his lyrics than writing songs, which recycle the same handful of tricks.
Warren brilliantly uses feel-good melodies to mask his dark, mocking lyrics.
In “Radio Hive,” he sings with defiance, “I want to write the dying, something grim/Such a disgustingly evil song (it makes the devil sing along)/Everyone says I’ve got to be something good, something better/Everyone says my head is stuck in the mud/But I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care.” Despite the outspoken lyrics, listeners could easily find themselves moshing along to the punchy, pop-punk melody.
Warren takes his cynical, almost sadistic tone even further in the climatic track, “Love Me a Good Microcosm.”
The acoustic piece begins with Warren wondering about the afterlife. “Oh, wonder it would be like/to believe in the afterlife/I’d probably smile every time I sang/I’d probably gun around town shouting some obscure, ancient man’s name/Oh, I don’t believe in the afterlife/I believe there is a thing called a gun, and there are things called knives/I believe they can destroy everything that you are inside.”
That track suddenly mutates into a hideous, slimy song with a friendly guitar chord slithering harmlessly while Warren’s calm, cold-hearted lyrics bite to the core.
Warren is reminding people, in his seemingly gentle way, to pull their heads out of the clouds. Let’s get back to reality and believe that assault weapons can kill us. Warren is like a ninja; he quietly and bluntly tells his listeners to shove this whole “afterlife” shit up their asses. And that’s what makes this song so brutal and worthwhile to hear.
“Love Me a Good Microcosm” sums up everything that Flies In All Directions is about. Warren channels his intense emotions, angst, and personal beliefs into cold, nonchalant lyrics sung sarcastically and carefree. However, his songwriting skills are weak. After a while, you want to throw your headphones down. The same hooks and melodies are used over and over, making it hard to distinguish any of the tunes.
Despite those glaring flaws, Warren is an exceptional and talented lyricist. Flies In All Directions is a rare album these days; Warren’s words erupt from the speakers, spewing grisly, yet charming, critiques at society.
Weatherbox - Flies In All Directions tracklist:
- “Pagan Baby”
- “Bring Us the Head of Weatherbox”
- “The Fresh Prints of Bill Ayers”
- “Bathin’ In The Fuss”
- “Radio Hive”
- “The Devil and Whom?”
- “Dark All Night for Us”
- “Drag Out”
- “The Drones”
- “Ghost Malls”
- “The Last White Lighter”
- “Love Me a Good Microcosm”