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a year and a half after releasing the acclaimed 'alopecia' lp, why? returns with their fourth album, 'eskimo snow'. the two records are each other's perfect foil: while last year's release found yoni wolf and the gang delivering a tight set of intricate rhymes, live loops, slurred hooks and acerbic wit, eskimo snow offers a sung, sobering take on mortality that unfurls in lush waves of americana and pop-infused psych-folk. pre-mixed in nashville by lambchop's mark nevers (silver jews, bonnie prince billy, calexico) and worked over by alopecia engineer eli crews, this album is why?'s most live-sounding yet - a shadowy and sprawling piece as intimate in subject matter as it is handsome in timbre. 'these hands' opens the album up rich and with deliberate pacing, doug matching yoni word-for-word (you'll find no vocal overdubs here) and the rhythm section operating under heavy reverb. vibraphone likewise duets with piano, windy wordless vocals fly around the atmosphere, and wet footsteps soon carry us to 'january twenty something.' here, you're in the room with why?, listening to the bass rattle the drums and the drums rattle the vibes. amid this folksy grandness, the whole crew sings for the chorus, bending their harmony into a gorgeously warped drawl. next, 'against me' brings the album's brightest moment yet: a crescendo of bells that eventually dips into an aural whirlpool while yoni spins picturesque observations like a countrified dylan. on tomlab.
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