The Warning – A Fountain of Youth
By Michael Aronovitz
Horror Author, College Professor, and Rock Critic
It is Friday, September 24th, and that makes it three days since I first heard the music of The Warning, a power trio of sisters, last name – Villarreal, from Monterrey, Mexico. I was in my car listening to Sirius Radio, Channel 37, Octane, and a song came on that had the best vocal hook in a chorus that I had heard in a long time…background chords heavy as hell, and a voice that was so striking, soaring and glamourous, it was dizzying. I almost pulled over.
That was “Choke.” I don’t have the feature on my car radio that puts the name of the artist on the display on the dash, yet I was lucky enough that the DJ mentioned the band’s name. When I got home, I went on YouTube immediately, and I stumbled across another new video by this band, titled “Evolve.”
I watched the damned thing twenty-two times. Of course, after my binge I took a deep dive into their videos and Instagram posts, to find a humble, grateful, talented group of sisters that plainly and simply share my (our) love for rock and roll with the same seeming intensity: the process, the rehearsals, the discovery and the glory of even playing the smallest of clubs. I did not realize they had been doing this since they were kids. I did not realize they had added a song to The Metallica Blacklist Tribute album (2021), “Enter Sandman” (with Alessia Cara), and that they were already on the brink of super stardom.
I only saw their hunger and love for the playing itself, for the precise execution and delivery…not only the holistic experience, but the chops one by one, trick for trick, measure by measure, all constructed to remind people that there is still beauty in the world.
Ok then, let’s go there. Physical appeal. Hell, we all well know that rock and roll is sexual religion in a sense, and therefore, by design, we have to ask ourselves if The Warning are beautiful. Of course, this might be uncomfortable for us because they are all so relatively young, (Alejandra seventeen, Paulina nineteen, and Daniela twenty-one). Still, in an appropriate and respectful manner, I must say that these women are lovely, and I am not making some sort of simplistic and comprehensive comment out the side of my mouth about the group members being sexualized (which they clearly do not allow). It is all about attitude, as each cornerstone of this awesome power trio brings a different shade and form of their pleasing aesthetic to the forefront. Daniela is a volcano of expression, possessing the raunch and guts to let her emotions paint pictures of passion and rage. Next to her, Alejandra not only fills out the bottom end with her bass flawlessly, but is gorgeous in the way statues and paintings on cathedral ceilings make our hearts swell.
And Paulina on drums?
Honestly, I have not seen a star playing percussion with this level of swag since Keith Moon. Paulina reminds us of what it was like back in the day to walk into the row house basement where the band was set up, turn the amps up to eleven, and ride the fucking lightening. She is rhythmically alluring, daringly tasteful, sassy, hard ‘n heavy, intricate and powerful. I want to shoot right back to the band’s performance of “Evolve” captured on cell phones propped on the mic stands, right in front of the drums, and even on moving drones, yielding amazing closeups and visual satin-white overlays in terms of set and costumes.
The three players complement each other as if all sharing the same heart and spine
And Paulina is a fucking God. Or Goddess, take your side, pick your poison
I have never seen a musician represent, and so convincingly, such a multi-faceted collection of genres simultaneously. She pounds out the hard backbeat of punk, the four to six note “blops” made famous by John Bonham and Neil Peart, a progressive 7/8ths time used quite effectively in a bridge and the outro, and the absolute pomp and circumstance of the best of the glam bands from back in the day.
Considering the enchanting look, the raucous physicality, the writing, the fills, the beat, and the amazing talent of this particular musician, I can honestly make the claim that Paulina is the most interesting musician of the 2000’s.
And boy, motherfucker, can she sell it.
Watching this band makes us feel young again, like life has possibilities and hope, that innocent and hyperbolic things like rocking to the beat and dancing in front of a mirror with a hairbrush are not only welcome, but expected.
The Warning make us feel joy in a way that is clear, absolute, and unapologetic
To focus more closely on the “Evolve” video, watch Alejandra’s expressions when she comes in for the second half of the choruses in harmony. Monet could not have painted a more passionate and heart-wrenching expression of the depth of the emotion in the soul. Watch Daniela in the last bit of vocals before the ending, and you won’t find a stronger declaration of rage and independence. And finally, watch Paulina deal to us the different musical sections like some exotic magician: the turbo-charged punk beat, the background vocals that make you want to stand up and scream-along, the runs on the toms, and the expressive facials she does at the end of each mixed meter run to show us where one “sentence” ends and the next begins.
I look forward to the forthcoming album that contains “Evolve” and “Choke,” (Lava Records) but mostly I long for the next glimpse into this fountain of youth, this living breathing mural of beauty that The Warning have ghosted us into with their confidence and love for the music we all would die for.
Michael Aronovitz has his fourth novel titled THE SCULPTOR coming out through Night Shade / Skyhorse books November 16th, 2021.