Saturday, July 9, 2011

Why? - Elephant Eyelash

Why? – Elephant Eyelash
Anticon, 2005
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2010
Price: $10

Why? was one of those discoveries that made me love music again. I probably already went on and on about this in previous write-ups of this album’s younger siblings, Alopecia and Eskimo Snow, but I’ll say it again for the sake of a brief background. I’d never heard of Why? when I went to see them at the Jackpot in the fall of 2008. I sat with Nick Dormer (who’d encouraged me to attend) at the bar and watched on the video screens because the place was too crowded. It was a pure enjoyment sort of thing. Letting Yoni Wolf’s words create these little somersaults in my head. He crafts that powerful sort of songwriting that you always want to find. He’s on the same pleasure barge as David Berman and John Darnielle and all of the other modern masters. It helps that these are all effectively pop songs under the guise of alt-hip-hop. Destructive tunes like “Gemini (Birthday Song)” and “Whispers Into the Other” establish this as one of the more punch-in-the-gut break-up records I can think of. “Gemini” especially. I even covered it when I was forced into a solo-acoustic show in the Taproom basement the night I asked Jenny out the first time. She didn’t see the set, but she loves this album even more than I do, which is nice because Why? is on in the house a good percentage of the time music is on. Why? still sounds like the freshest thing I’ve heard in a long, long time. Even after listening to this record and the two that follow it dozens and dozens of times, there’s a deeper appreciation for Yoni & co’s fucked up depressive genius pop music. It's an album that's maddening to actually try to talk about because the things I love about it are the sort of inexpressible joy I glean from the themes, the words, the instrumentation, etc. It's a cool record. Like legitimately cool in execution and form. One that should be listened to repeatedly by anyone who you know, likes albums that are real real good. No lie.

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