Sunday, February 24, 2008

Gold Sounds: Why?'s new album Alopecia reviewed!

Preface: I've been wanting to try my hand in reviewing albums for awhile now, and since I'm not currently on your radio dial once a week, I figure this is a good way for me to contribute to the blog. Hope you like it! More reviews should be coming in the (hopefully) near future.


The album starts off with Yoni Wolf telling us straight up: "I'm not a ladies' man."

That much is obvious from listening to the lyrics of every song on the album. Hell, one song is solely about Wolf stalking some chick that either didn't give him the time of day or decided to break up with him after they went out for a couple weeks ("Simeon's Dilemma," one of the album's many highlights). The album chronicles all of Wolf's missteps (not just those that are related to his love life), telling the story of a nice, honest guy who's just down on his luck. It's hard not to feel bad for him, between getting sick and throwing up all over his shoes after lunch and, while in Berlin, losing "50 euros to a guy with the walnut shells and the marble" ("The Hollows"). Dude has bad luck no matter where he goes, it seems. It's certainly hard to feel that your life is worthy of a badass soundtrack when you're sucking dick at your cousin's bat mitzvah for free drinks (perhaps there's a little fabrication in some songs, but you can't always be sure!).

This brings us to the music, which isn't really the epitome of cool either. Why? has been pegged as indie rock meets hip hop, and certainly most of these beats would not sit well with most listeners of your local hip hop station. Songs like "By Torpedo or Crohn's" possess beats that are catchy, but in a happy, "I dream about cotton candy and ice cream with sprinkles" kind of way, as opposed to a "get on the dance floor and grind with the girl wearing that short skirt" kind of way. Again, not very badass.

However, the goofy music paired with the goofy, self-deprecating lyrics is what makes the album work so well. Listening to Wolf rhyme over Timbaland-produced beats would create, at the very least, confusion in the listener. However, when paired with awkward-yet-catchy beats, everything just clicks perfectly. Lyrics about palm reading and various methods of sleep serve as metaphors for female frustration and confusion ("Maybe she knows something I don't know"), and when paired with guitar that makes the listener bob their head and want to grin from ear to ear ("Fatalisy Palmistry"), the result is three or four minutes of pure listening bliss.

The albums's not without its weak points; I personally find a couple songs, such as "The Fall of Mr. Fifths,"grating, and the album's final song, "Exegesis," seems rushed and doesn't really work as an album closer at all. Besides these couple missteps, the album is immensely enjoyable! Pick it up if you're into cool hybrids and/or hip hop that deviates from the mean. Projects from the Anticon scene are not to be missed.

Key tracks: Simeon's Dilemma, Fatalisty Palmistry, By Torpedo or Crohn's

Listen: Why's myspace has the whole album up for streaming

Rating? I'll give it an 11/14. Do the math; after all, your computer doubles as a calculator!

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