Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"Alopecia" by WHY?: Experimental, awesome, and perpetually sold-out

So I'm back from the crypt, and just in time to review WHY?'s new album, Alopecia (Anticon Records). Forget everything you thought you knew about experimental, and shove your Moog up your ass, because this album is what new wave is all about. Granted, it's been out since mid-March, but it still has that new-disc smell, from when the glue on that pesky tape closed the cover...anyways.

Genre-wise, Alopecia can be murky. There are profound alternative and folk aspects, of course, but loose downbeats and hiphop elements pop up here and there. Don't think of another Kanye/Estelle collaboration, no, said hip hop brings lyrics like

Sucking dick for drink tickets,
At the free bar at my cousin's bat mitzvah.
Cutting the punch line and it ain't no joke,
Devoid of all hope circus mirrors and pot smoke.
Picking fights on dyke night,
With shirlies and lokes and snatching purses.
Doing out on karaoke and forgetting all the verses,
Blowing kisses to disinterested bitches
to the table. Hands down, these boys define a genre whose name being dropped is inevitable, but the way it was before all the corruption and non-mainstream mainstreaming, I'm talking good ol' fashioned indie, the way it should be. Don't worry, there's no Juno soundtrack application, no sub-par Kimya Dawsom spinoff, just the ballsy experimentation with noises and words to birth a sound that's never been heard. They're doing something right.

Up front, this is one of, if not the best album of the year (Rise or Die Trying and Tha Carter III didn't exactly disappoint). From the very first track, you're bombarded with layered recordings, the most deliciously apathetic jazz you've ever heard, and what sounds like a chain hitting cardboard. Yoni Wolf's vocals are saintlike, they contrast between soaring octaves and monotone, half four track half god knows what.

A few of the tracks have cleverly repetitive imagery, blunt force through chronically quotable lyrics, and all the metaphorical fuck you's you could dream of. Occasional free verse and haphazard instrumentals show up, but the best part is the expectant synthesizing swell leading up to the twice already repeated choral lull that would in any other band be a letdown. All in all, the album is flawlessly composed, and sets the bar high.

Best tracks: Simeon's Dilemma, These Few Presidents, Good Friday, Speech Bubbles, and the most legit Cure cover EVER, of Close to Me.

Overall rating: 10.0/10.0, no questions asked.
Oh, and while you're on their Myspace like I knew you would be, cringing at all the "SOLD OUT"'s on the limited edition EP's, be sure to watch the video series. It's painfully funny with a few psuedo-exclusive beats (really just Yoni fucking around), but I will leave that analysis for Nello ;)

And you may want to pull that Moog out of your ass now.

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