Thursday, November 03, 2005

Why? / Elephant Eyelash / Rating 7.8

You too can write about music, all you have to do is rearrange / expand upon the words from the label / PR one sheet and own a thesaurus!!!

Why? Elephant Eyelash Quotes taken DIRECTLY from the one sheet / press sheet:

*Jangley psych-rock, folk-hop- peculiar pop
*Pavement, Neutral Milk Hotel, kraut rock, dub
*Instruments- guitars, turntable, piano, glockenspiel, pedals, pots and pans

Ahhh, the power of suggestion. Here is a selection of clips taken from several online reviews. See a pattern? I am not saying this is always a bad thing but I think it is interesting to see just how similar / uncreative / possibly lazy music journalists as a group can be.
Pavement, Radiohead, Fiery Furnaces - these names aren’t as sacred to me as they are to some indie rock fans, but I’m still invoking them for a reason. “Gemini,” “Sanddollars” and “Yo Yo Bye Bye” are likely the three catchiest indie rock songs I’ve heard this year, and there are so many surprising twists in the melodies, time signatures, lyrics and production that I'll keep returning to these songs for months. Elephant Eyelash is a terrific rock record, especially for a guy who's known as an MC.
Yoni Wolf finally realizes his hip-hop informed indie-pop aesthetic with Elephant Eyelash.

The Anticon crew have never been ones to create hip-hop according to what is expected of the genre, and Why? is no different. In fact, one could argue that on his past couple releases he's very nearly created an entirely new genre that is grounded in indie rock, but dips into hip-hop and several other genres for something that's refreshing and unique (but maybe a bit frustrating for fans of one genre or the other without an open mind to accept the other). Elephant Eyelash is no different, with Why? pulling together all his previous influences into something even more focused and cohesive.

Influences are more than evident, but are all tweaked with Why?'s unique wit and wide-eyed view on composing. Beck's Spanish rhythms and slacker country guitars make Rubber Traits the perfect Summer tinged soundtrack, Waterfalls is the psych-folk oddity of the Animal Collective and elsewhere, Pavement, Radiohead, hip hop, country, post rock and blues all make appearances.

If you can appreciate hip-hop and indie-pop equally, and you need some good music to get over that former special someone with, this album was made for you. Get thee hence to the record store!

Why?'s Elephant Eyelash is a surrealist pop composition that's endearing & twisted in its own unique way. Appealing to fans of Pavement, Neutral Milk Hotel and They Might be Giants alike, the group is fronted by Yoni Wolf, who first cut his teeth as a member of the critically-acclaimed cLOUDDEAD.

Why?'s quirky indie-pop is hard to place. At times the band sounds like Pavement and later a one-singer Fiery Furnaces. Why? uses an odd assortment of instruments to create its sound — a turntable, piano, glockenspiel and steel pedal to name a few.

12 songs in 41 minutes is just the perfect length for an album. Elephant Eyelash opens with "Crushed Bones", which is a, uh, bone-crushing smash of pop-song in the crossover terrain of pop and hip-hop, think the Streets meets Pavement meets Eels meets Neutral Milk Hotel meets Beck meets Sparklehorse. Why? plays jangly pop-rock, and bouncy folk-pop with a slight 'sike' touch, light indie-rock, mixed perfectly with rhymes and rhythms from smart, modern hip-hop.
There is a ton of piano on here (think Pavement “Range Life”), chunky power-pop rhythms, and enough vigorous acoustic strumming, booming bass drum and washy cymbals to make people think of Neutral Milk Hotel or The Microphones.

The indie-pop-crowd will definitely like this record. It will make them think of Pavement, and they always like that, don’t they?

Holy crap….hip hop meets indie rock??? That is some crazy cutting edge shit. I didn’t know that was possible. Geesh, there aren’t a kagillion other mixing and matching of genres happening out there in the modern age of recording??? What year is this? I understand Elephant Eyelash is indeed an obvious cross between these genres but it doesn’t have to be the primary focus of almost every piece, does it?

Pitchfork at least had one of the more creative non cookie cutter reviews out there so hats off to them. Below is a quote that technically puts them in the ring with all the other Why? reviews but at least they put a more intersting spin on the theme. I suppose thats what makes PFM a heavyweight contender and in this case, the winner.
In fact, forget about whether Wolf's career belongs in hip-hop or indie rock or jangle-psych or whatever: By now his music has oozed so far away from a clear-cut genre that the whoom-pa beats he's sometimes fond of could have been inspired by polka.