by Rodney Lotter/photo by Marty Watson
Bright Weapons dropped their second album, Consent, on Oct. 19, giving Bellingham more reason to love them.
Their first release in two years (following 2011’s The Monster Baby EP), the new album sees the band maturing and fleshing out their manic, dance-punk music to an even more impressive extent when compared with their prior release.
Comprised of their core lineup of Amy Gibson on vocals, Rob Stauffer on bass and Aaron Tapscott on keys, Wild Throne drummer Noah Burns held down percussion on Consent, while Tom Fitzgibbon plays drums in the live version of the band. Gibson said the recording of Consent was a slow process due to many factors, including her time away in China during the initial stages of recording the album in 2012.
The eight tracks on the album were recorded by Tim Brown at Open Air Studios in Deming (he mastered Bright Weapons’ first album), and in Staffer’s apartment. Consent was mastered by Chris Vita in Portland.
“The last album [The Monster Baby EP] only took a few days to record,” Gibson said. “At that time we had the songs figured out and I just made up lyrics on the spot. This time around, I had a lot more time to sit and listen to the songs and come up with more thoughtful lyrics, which I think is one of the major changes that can be heard on Consent.”
One example of Gibson’s new approach to lyrics can be heard on the song “Natasha,” which was the first single Bright Weapons leaked before releasing the entire album on their Bandcamp page. The lyrics tackle the subject of sex trafficking, which is obviously much more serious than the band’s previous song subjects: robot grandmas, monster babies and aliens.
That’s not to say Bright Weapons is all serious these days. Another song is dedicated to robot grandmas on Consent (Robot Grandma Pt. II (Battle of the Future,)) and the album release show featured mic stands getting kicked over and audience members playing Stauffer’s bass with beer glasses.
“I just wanted the lyrics to not be too jokey or unimportant this time,” Gibson said. “Since I had time to come up with lyrics, I made sure the lyrics didn’t make me sound like an asshole by saying the wrong thing, or in the wrong way. I want the songs to be permanent and I want the songs to be about something I won’t mind singing a million times.”
Stauffer said another important change in the band’s sound came with the addition of Tapscott on keyboards. He has been playing live with the band, but was not present on the band’s first recording.
“This time around, the recording of the songs was much more of a collaborative effort, rather than me and a drummer coming up with the songs and then just having Amy add vocals over the top,” Stauffer said.
Tapscott doesn’t think his role is that important to the band’s more honed-in sound this time around. “I just stick out two fingers and touch things until they sound good,” Tapscott said. “Which is how I approach all things in life, really.”
Consent can be heard at brightweapons.bandcamp.com, and is available for download on a “name your own price” basis.