Sunday, April 9, 2017
Album Review: The Warning - XXI Century Blood
The Warning is one of these tales of youth taking over the world. The band is comprised of three sisters, none of whom have hit their twenties yet. It's astounding to think that such young women have put together a band who have accomplished as much as they have already, but what's even more amazing is just how good they already are.
If you didn't know the band's story, which I didn't when I first heard some of this music, you would never guess. This album is a polished and professional outing that hits the marks of pop-leaning rock and roll with aplomb. Last year, Shiverburn nearly won Album Of The Year with a similar style, and while The Warning hasn't hit that same level of absolute brilliance, they've made a record that outclasses many that come from bands with a much higher profile.
Not only do the sisters play with the skill of veterans, the vocals have a maturity that few young singers manage to pull off. They sound like a band that has more years under their belts, which extends to their songs. Catchy music often gets written-off with a bit of a snide remark as if it's no skill to write what you could call simple music. In fact, the opposite is true. Writing a ten minute progressive opus is easy, because no one expects the music to be any good. Writing a short and sweet pop song is one of the hardest things you can do as a musician. So when The Warning shows up with a song like "Shattered Heart", which is a phenomenal pop song, that's a sign that they have what it takes.
There is also a deft amount of variety on the record. There are the move overt pop leaning songs, some more modern rhythm-centered songs like "Survive", as well as the ballads you would expect to find. And in all cases, they do a remarkable job with each one. "Our Mistakes" and "Unmendable" are both fantastically catchy songs, while "Wildfire" is a modern burner, and "Show Me The Light" and "Black Holes (Don't Hold On)" are stirring ballads that give the album the give and take that makes it so effective. There isn't a single track here that falls short of the mark. The time and care taken to make this album shows.
Any rock group with a female singer and a mainstream sound is going to draw the inevitable comparison to Halestorm. The Warning has given us a record that is easily better than Halestorm's latest, but is still looking up at their masterful second album. That's actually high praise. These young ladies have made a better record than a huge band on a major label with every resource they could ever dream of to help them write songs could muster.
I hate to go to the well of age so often, but it's amazing to think a record like this can be made by teenagers. I remember what I was doing at that age as a musician, and I couldn't have begun to imagine making a record that rivals the names you hear on the radio. The Warning has done that. There are no growing pains here, there's no faint praise where I say I can see where they hope to be in a few albums. The Warning are already there. "XXI Century Blood" is a great album on its own merits, but with the story, it's one that does that rare thing and stands out from the crowd. I'm rather stunned by The Warning. Kudos, ladies.