OK, so I've been sitting with this one for a while, soaking it up, marinating in it, and while I'm not so sure that it's "the Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain of our modern indie times" (Filter Mini, 10/05), it's a pretty damn good slab of music. Labels are lazy, but this band just invites you to try. Folk-rap? Avant-hop? Indie artrock hip-hop experimental freak folk... all of it comes into play during a listen to this record from front to back.
Yoni Wolf, who was Why? as a solo project for a few years and now heads up WHY? as a band, comes up with verse after verse of totally accessible everyman-as-freak lyrics, rolling them out in a near-deadpan singspeak that, after the necessary acclimatization, is just really cool. It's like my internal dork has found voice and form at long last.
The sound of light rain and burning leaves is the same... I'm fucking cold like a DQ blizzard, you act like a slut but you're really a freezer... Inhaling crushed bones through a dried up white out pen and writing the backwards racer in hot June rain in a matching blue and gold plastic bag poncho raincoat... In London where the sirens yelp like a helpless dog with his paw stepped on...
He goes from smart and sharp rap lyrics to weirdo free-association all a microsecond behind the beat, shifting the layers off time just a bit, making the music more dense and busy and turning the beat into a jarring shuffle that's tough to nail but wonderful to listen to.
The appeal of this record is, so far, for me, tough to put into words. If you don't think this is your kind of thing, just listen. Suspend judgement for the first few trips through, then listen to it again.