WHY? - Alopecia

Album Review by Dave Kerr | 06 Mar 2008
  • Alopecia
Album title: Alopecia
Artist: Why?
Label: Tomlab

A much welcome respite – at least to these cynical lugs - from the Brit School's backslapping and the paperboy's class warrior 'realness', comes in the form of this third album proper from former cLOUDDEAD MC Jonathan 'Yoni' Wolf and his ever-nebulous outfit WHY?. Once a solo affair, Wolf brought in his drumming brother Josiah and multi-instrumentalist Doug McDiarmid for 2005's brilliant Elephant Eyelash. Now they've upped the ante further by joining forces with Fog mastermind Andrew Broder and cohort Mark Erickson to crank out an LP full of characteristically disjointed but ultimately digestible melodic nuggets.

Playful, xylophonic chimes and piano loops frame Wolf's unique vocal rhythm as he vents melancholic epiphanies and stream-of-consciousness neuroses. With simple truths and a hazy cipher, he finds the mean between Stephen Malkmus and MF Doom with a set of compelling songs that mope and hope with a masochistic glee. The breezy, mid-album salvo of Song of the Sad Assassin and Gnashville marks itself out as the centrepiece from the outset, but it's a line from the understated penultimate number By Torpedo or Crohn's that etches the secret of this infectious anti-triumph on the brain: "This is a new kind of blues." Leadbelly fanatics might disagree, but this is Grade A magic. [Dave Kerr]


Release Date: 10 Mar