By Grant Golden
December 21, 2020
Stephen Warwick is best known as the frontman of Charlotte’s psych-rock outfit Ancient Cities, but his first solo release in nearly a decade proves he’s just as compelling on his own. Struggling with a lack of creative output during the pandemic, Warwick has unveiled a pair of tracks that prove prescient during these tumultuous times. “I Got Time” and “Monsters” showcase a stripped down, Southern-tinged sound in comparison to the explorative work of Ancient Cities, but also highlight Warwick’s captivating songwriting.
“I Got Time,” featured on the most recent episode of Showtime’s Shameless, is a hook heavy straight-forward blues track with echoes of ‘60s pop sentiments. Warwick’s plainspoken lyrics may have come prior to the coronavirus pandemic, but they hit differently given the new reality of 2020. “It’s a crazy world, but I won’t fall like a domino,” Warwick sings with a bouncing melody that fits snugly into his angular guitar strums. Driven by hand claps and a brisk drumbeat, “I Got Time” bounces with a simplistic verse/chorus arrangement, but careens into a gnarly blues guitar break at its halfway point. Short, but sweet, the song is a playful excursion into the core of what makes Warwick’s writing special.
While “I Got Time” feels bright and playful, “Monsters” serves up a Delta blues snarl that displays the range of Warwick’s tone. “Monsters” is a swampy, humid affair that digs deep into Warwick’s psyche. “Got a place in my soul where the bad moons rise,” Warwick sings, “where the air is thin and the monsters hide.” Chugging along with a bustling guitar line, shuffling drums and snarling harmonica, “Monsters” hits like a sonic freight train. Pairing the two is an enjoyable juxtaposition.
“I Got Time” and “Monsters” may not be the experimental, heady affair that we’re used to from Warwick, but nonetheless it’s a fresh and dynamic outing that helps to solidify him as one of state’s most consistent songwriters.
Listen to “I Got Time and “Monsters” by Stephen Warwick.