This is the first in an ongoing series of music reviews examining new releases and older songs and albums you may have missed.
Reviewed by Bijan Haghighi-Mood
With a mix of spoken word-styled delivery, folk and indie music, Alopecia, the third album from Why?, has something that most listeners can find enjoyable…even with the group remaining somewhat obscure to this day.
While the 2008 album is all about vocalist Yoni Wolf’s insecurities and issues, it never brings the mood down as the vocals are delivered with confidence; even when it’s more melancholy tonally, the instrumentals maintain that same level of confidence. Two perfect examples would be “The Vowels, Pt.2” and “By Torpedo or Crohn’s.” “The Vowels, Pt.2” has lines like “I’m not a ladies man / I’m a landmine” and “Am I an example of a calculated birth.” These lines are about his personal issues except he sings and speaks in a confident and chill manner, keeping it from being whiny sounding.
“By Torpedo or Crohn’s” has lyrics similar, but while Yoni is speaking them in a more somber way, two chords from the piano and bass drive it all together and keep it all in the same tone as most of the album.
Although tonally similar, all of Alopecia’s tracks feel different–with a lot of different styles being used throughout the album.
You would think the difference in tracks would make the album feel less connected and even more like just a set of songs put in together at random; however the album utilizes some really neat transitions. While not every song has an obvious transition, those transitions present do add a lot to the album and give certain tracks some added flair. However once the tracks are taken out of the album, these transitions end up making tracks feel incomplete as most of them will have a set up but just nothing afterwards. In “The Vowels, Pt.2” there is a long segment of just one sound, which is followed up by a lead into the next track’s (“Good Friday”) instrumental. Without going into “Good Friday” it just seems pointless to have this long segment and not have a conclusion to it.
This wouldn’t be that much of a problem but there is a section of the album that is just three straight unmemorable tracks which ruins a bit of the tone. They aren’t bad but just not really as good the rest of the album. “The Hollows” has a really interesting climax but it is put right in the middle of the song and it ends up feeling like it goes on for way to long. “Simeon’s Dilemma” has a really good instrumental build up when the lyrics start going towards a more creepy vibe than at the start.
Giving this album a listen shouldn’t give you a dilemma, as indie and folk listeners shall enjoy it.