The haunting first lyrics on “Leather Daddy” from Microwave ‘s latest record, Death is a Warm Blanket, come in packed with depth, substance, and relatability. When front-man/guitarist Nathan Hardy sings, “If you don’t want to talk, then just don’t talk /I’m fine with us just sitting in silence / If you want me to go then just say so / You can drop me off somewhere / I don’t know…I don’t have anywhere to go,” it’s nearly impossible not point to a relationship or friendship in the past or present that fits in with this rhetoric. We’ve all been in relationships when things just aren’t clicking, and it feels like we reach a point where we stop caring. Microwave are able to bottle up a ton of angst and polish it up enough to make an album worthy of being engulfed in.
Rounding out the band is bassist Tyler Hill, and drummer Timothy Pittard who help enhance the guitar-driven rock found on Death is a Warm Blanket. The Atlanta, Georgia band initially reminded me of some grunge-era bands such as Nirvana and The Pixies, but Microwave are more than capable of standing toe to toe with the modern rock bands of today.
As the record unfolds on tracks like the blazing wall of sound in the title track, Microwave showcase their true potential as musicians and artists as a whole. “The Brakeman Has Resigned” seem to be ripped right from the wheelhouse of bands such as Thrice, and Microwave does the comparison justice with some drowned out vocals in the verses and some well-timed clean vocals during the chorus. The melodic elements are the greatest strength of this band, as they could have easily veered more towards an Underoath-type of vibe with multiple screaming parts, yet the melodies that do come through are brilliantly timed here.
Other songs like “Hate TKO” are as solid of a rock track as you can find, and the production from Matt Goldman at Gem City Studios does an excellent job of capturing the energy and force Microwave to bring into each live performance. The pain felt on more vulnerable songs such as “Pull” showcase the dynamics of Microwave’s songwriting skills. When Hardy sings, “Whatever I’ve got right now / I was waiting on it to get easier /I’m still waiting it out /You’re pulling me back, you’re pulling me back down,” it’s hard to not hear the vulnerability in his voice and overall delivery of the heartfelt song.
Some other standout tracks such as the pulsating and steady as we go-rhythm found on “Carry,” only further solidified my opinion on the band. This all boils up to the closer, “Part Of It,” that does an excellent job of encapsulating all that Microwave is capable of creating when they set their sights to something great. The closing lyrics of, “I want to know when it falls apart / That I did my part that part of it was me,” was one I could relate to. The idea of making some stamp on something in this crazy world we live in. Whether we leave behind, in the end, our art, our families, or our friendships, it’s all really a part of the process of pursuing our right to some sort of happiness in the long run. The mortality of everything really weighed on me as I listened to this record, and I feel there is something everyone will take away from this album.