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Here's a review of Eskimo Snow, Why?s new record, see what you think - and what do you think of the album?
Have to say I miss a bit of the 'boom bap' of older days, ain't nothing wrong with a bit of hip hop
George McGovern’s campaign manager, Frank Mankiewicz, famously said that Hunter S. Thompson’s chronicle of the ‘72 US election was the “least accurate, but most factual” account. I think much the same could be attributed to the lyrics delivered by Yoni Wolf of Why? on the basis of his recent output. On ‘This Blackest Purse’ Wolf sets out his own mission statement of sorts; “I want to speak at an intimate decibel/ with the precision of an infinite decimal/ to listen up and send back a true echo/ of something forever felt but never heard/ I want that sharpened steel of truth in every word”.
The lyrics of Why? have always been something worth dissecting, acting as both the distinguishing factor between any comparable act and the singular element that unites his discography from his time as a solo artist, through his collaborations, cLOUDDEAD, and the current incarnation of Why? as a fully formed band. The topics here remain largely the same; the full contents of his thoughts on display as Yoni dissects death, sex and his own anxieties at every turn. He is his own therapist, the language of self-analysis pouring out every song. The albums opening line, “I wear the customary clothes of my time/ like Jesus did with no reason not to die” ensures you are instantly aware the lyrics will continue where they left off on Alopecia, a stream of Jungian psychoanalysis and border-line perversion (“and I never got a name for my shady compulsion”) that could be easily mistaken for narcissism (”will I gain weight in later life?”).
Wolf again shows signs of the sort of self awareness rarely found in popular music and couples this with a new self-referential streak. ‘This Blackest Purse’ provides the most obvious example, opening with the lines “I’m not who, with my eyes, I claim to be/ I’ve only cradled death in my own ending flesh from far off and abstracted lit/ candlewick flickering”, a reference to the most prevalent topic on Alopecia that was at the forefront of tracks like ‘Song of the Sad Assassin’ with its first person account of lifting a body out of the water, and signals the beginning of a differentiation between the person or persona and the doctrine he has set himself. His embellishment is in the quest for ‘truth in every word’.
Eskimo Snow is made up of recordings taken from the same sessions as Alopecia, separated for the sake of coherence, so perhaps it is no surprise to hear “looks like a sky for shoeing horses under” on the refrain to ‘One Rose’, or his calls of “no flash photography” on ‘Even The Good Wood Gone’, taking you back to the same train of thought first heard on ‘Sick 2 Think’ from the Sanddollars EP. . . read more . . . http://www.whatisthegrain.com/record-review/eskimo-snow-by-why/
if I love Alopecia, which album should I buy next?
If you love Alopecia then I would say Elephant Eyelash but would really recommend getting the Sanddollars EP as well.
to both you and Yesiamaduck.
I wanted to get Elephant Eyelash a while ago but then remembered that Oaklandasylum (or whatever it's called - there's no way it can be spelt like that, at least one z in it I reckon) was a bit more hip-hop and EE was more of an indie album. Don't suppose it matters much as I just want to get the best one.
There isn't a best one, they are all excellent to be fair. I would just say Elephant Eyelash is more similar.