I first caught sight of NORPHLET September of last year with their single “Brand New” which was a busting at the seams anthemic Alternative Rock track! Now, Taylor Devorsky and Cody Brown (NORPHLET) is back with “The Weatherman.”
The theme of the album is inspired by real-world elements and explores the perception of oneself and the conscience that supports or rejects our life’s course in three tracks – brilliant!
“Vice Versa” opens the album with a bang with cymbals clashing, guitars screaming, and the opening words “first day of the rest of my life” demanding attention and setting the stage for an up-tempo subliminal track.
“Vice Versa” is a song about seeing things in life the other way around, not in its typical place within the scheme of things. In other words, would things be better if we were to flip things on end or change things around? Would you get to that place in mind, body, and/or spirit, or life that you seek, if you were to just do things differently, or “vice versa?” Cody Brown candidly sings: life / I say over and over as I try to convince myself / yeah, the first day of the rest of my life / product of twenty something years somehow just passing me by . . . fabricating meaning, justifying circumstance / sprawling aimlessly about the house / retracing my mistakes / when all I want is just for this to feel worth it / all I want for you to feel is vice versa.
The timing of the music and the “real-talk” vocal execution of the lyrics give this track a contemplative vibe. Moreover, this track has a wonderful textured instrumental approach that climbs and falls creating a layer of free-flowing melody.
Second in command is “Fingers Crossed”- a mid-tempo track that passionately sits on your shoulders. The lyrics tell the story of one having hope when you feel as if you are surrounded by despair: I saw you in the yard today / but every time that I got too close you flew away / or opened up my mouth to speak / you were gone before I got that far / and I know it’s not for keeps but it still stings / It’s getting clear in almost every single way / that you’re here for me to see / to for me to save, and that’s okay. And what wakes up this sleeping giant of a track are those driven guitars and those classic rock drums!
Cody Brown wastes no time in accomplishing magic with that electric guitar by implementing cleaner tones to place emphasis on the simplicity of the track’s message, but also allowing the guitar to reverberate where possible highlighting the weight of the composition – it’s musical impressionism at its best. Furthermore, “Fingers Crossed” also has that passive-aggressive vibe that we heard with Matchbox Twenty back in the day. This vibe is established by Taylor Devorsky’s percussions.
Devorsky’s percussions play nicely on the playground (so-to-speak). To put it plainly, the percussions are not conflicting each other, nor are they spaced so far apart that they sound isolated. The percussive blend that Devorsky accomplished on this track is favorable and welcoming, thus smoothly giving the ears something to pull on vs pushing away.
This guitar/percussive foundation is layered featuring a consistent rhythm and tempo such as we hear in modern music. This professional blending enables the audience to easily grab a hold of the song’s concept and melody without causing boredom or confusion. In addition, the emotional expression conveyed through the music, lyrics, and the vocals are confessional and frank, and that’s the type of music our society needs to hear today – just tunes and stories that makes them stop and think, and by all means, have a concept that makes sense.
“Solamente” closes the album and is a song that looks intently on individuality which makes this a great song to round out the previous tracks in that it is like a final discourse. The lyrics illustrate a person first being oblivious to their lot in life and pretty much saying “hey this is me, this is all that I am, all that I have become,” and then the mood changes and the character recognizes the “weatherman” predicting the end. Pleasantly highlighting this transition in thought is the music.
Layered extremely well, the music balances the lyrical story by starting out blazing like a person in control, and then settles down with mellowed out instruments and a slower tempo as if a person becomes tranquil but somewhat disturbed with reality settling into thoughts.
“Solamente” is Spanish for “Only” and perfectly illustrates how our individuality is very important to us, and how our consciences continue to dictate the way you recognize with yourself, and ONLY, yourself.
Interweaving the conflict of mental unrest with beautiful melodies and a blend of tempos is a complicated technique that many shy away from as often the message gets lost in the music, or the emotion gets diluted from the tempo. But if you can pull this off, you are truly a genius when it comes to songwriting and producing as you know exactly how to touch the human core by mixing things up and executing perfectly.
NORPHLET has accomplished this feat on “The Weatherman.” The smart treatment of fusing metaphorical topics with elements of subconscious is realistic and it works, because that is how the human mind works.
In addition, the title “The Weatherman” is fitting as the weatherman does predict how we dress, where we go in terms of traveling by plane, car, or on foot, and often our moods be it rainy (sad), sunny (happy), cold (bitter), or warm (okay). You DO hear the weatherman in the background in the kitchen while preparing breakfast, in your car while in route to work, etc. So to choose that title as a metaphor for our inner thoughts is perfect.
To illustrate, that voice inside of our heads either keeps us on track through life or constantly dams us when our mental state is developed within a toxic environment. And in either case, it’s a struggle to train our inner thoughts to aide us rather than fail us, and it is finding positive outside resources that match our goals, or reinforcements to challenge us to be better, that strengthens that inner voice to assist instead of desist, that enables us to thrive, live, and win. That is what “The Weatherman” musically interprets to our ears, thus trickling down to our souls.
This skill is reminiscent to artists in the decade’s past in music where they truly thought out the entire process of their creative project – from the music, melody, lyrics to suit the storyline, the artwork to complement the tracks, as well as the TITLE.
NORPHLET identifies with the alternative Rock genre, but this album is a great departure from their norm to the subgenre of Emo as each track on “The Weatherman” is truly emotionally expressive and impressive.
In short, “The Weatherman” is a soliloquy set to music!