“We’re doing this, in the first place, because we’re jealous of Green Day and we’re jealous of the Foo Fighters and we’re jealous of Queen and The Who because they are all able to give their fans an experience that cuts deeper than a catchy single, an album concept or a flashy stage show.” Or so says Brandon Phillips of Kansas City’s The Architects. While his tongue may be tucked firmly in cheek, it doesn’t diminish the overall importance and ground-breaking nature of the band’s latest undertaking… BORDER WARS, a concept album and comic book presented in five episodes.
Equal parts epic album, visual artistic expression, and heavy storytelling, BORDER WARS is a breathtaking series of five connected episodes told through a collection of comic book stories and their accompanying soundtrack releases. The concept album is the culmination of nearly two years of blood & sweat-sodden labor, consuming tens of thousands of cigarettes and thousands of midnight hours to bring fans the biggest, coolest experience possible. Set to release in five episodic forms, the band was able to cram Border Wars with a multitude of quality tracks without the constraints of adding any “filler.”
To really understand Border Wars, you first have to wrap your head around The Architects outlook on the current state of the music industry as a whole. As the world’s definition of epic shift from Beatlemania to Biebermania, the Kansas City natives look to redefine and reestablish the modern idea of “doing something big.” With a “you may well be able to outsell me, but you’ll never out-create me” approach to their latest release, Brandon Phillips and company are set to shatter the preconception that auditioning for American Idol or The Voice is the only way to succeed.
When The Architects joined forces with illustrator Mallory Dorn, an enviable project was born. Accompanying the music part of the “project”, Dorn’s vivid artwork illustrates this first installment of the serialized novel. As a companion piece to their modern take on meat and potatoes rock, the book helps define the unique vision that the band has constructed.
What would begin simply as a collection of ideas from the mind of singer and principal songwriter Brandon Phillips would eventually become BORDER WARS, which tells the story of Tom & Josie, two kids from a tiny town in southwestern Texas. Their backgrounds could not be more different. Tom is the only son of a wealthy televangelist minister. Josie is a runaway, currently employed by meth cooker. Their paths weave and interact with the city’s corrupt sheriff and his reality show, an ex-cartel boss on death row, hookers, scumbags, mob lawyers, crooked senators and a pair of wise morticians, culminating into a blood-soaked denouement.
Following the split of The Gadjits in 2004, the band has pushed forward, balancing a punk mentality with a solid, blue-collar work ethic. With four well-received full lengths under their belt (Keys to the Building in 2004, Revenge in 2006, Vice in 2008 and The Hard Way in 2009) the band is no stranger to release day. After releasing Episode One on July 16, 2013, Border Wars is intended to keep fan on the edge of their seat, jonesing for the next chapter to drop. They’re here to remind you that music is not a temporary fashion accessory fling.