US - California - Full Moon 143 - 05/20/08
Two days ago Why? were to visit Norway, to play Oslo (as well as Bergen
two days earlier). Shit happened (another shitty airport strike) and the gig
was cancelled. Alopecia is Why?'s third album, and I was really
excited to check if it's as good as I thought Elephant Eyelash was when it came.
In the beginning Why? was a solo project. After the first album Why?
became a full band, with Wolf bros. Jonathan a.k.a. Yoni and Josiah Wolf,
plus Doug McDiarmid, Andrew Broder and Mark Erickson (Austin Brown is a live
shows staff member). Why?'s music is a perfect blend of indie, lightly
psychedelic folk-pop and hip-hop. Slack, cool and catchy. Just like many of
the other acts from the Anticon collective: cLOUDDEAD, Doseone, Odd Nosdam,
Themselves (Adam 'Doseone' Drucker, Odd Nosdam, Jeffrey 'Jel' Logan - of
Themselves, Subtle, 13 & God - are among the contributors here). Why? is
maybe the shamelessly poppier act, and getting away with it. Poet Yoni is a
smart rhyme-smith with a vocal style fitting his lyrics, which are twisted
serious business with loads of humour of the bleaker/blacker kind, irony
included. 'Alopecia' is the medical term for 'hair loss'. "I'm not a ladies'
man, I'm a landmine" he opens the album. He's also an exciting and excellent
songwriter, coming up with stunningly catchy material for head and feet.
Alopecia has got a grand opening, and its first third shows Yoni's
brilliance, with songs like "The Vowels pt 2", "Good Friday", "These Few
Presidents", and "The Hollows". There's a fine balance between the
catchiness and the, uh, darkness. Why? also manage to present a fine mixture
of tip-toe elegance and slacker laziness. But, there are some... maybe not
fillers, but some less attractive, less immediate songs. That said
Alopecia is a goodie, even though I guess Elephant Eyelash
still is my favourite.
Copyright © 2008 Håvard Oppøyen