Photo Credit: Christine Buchsbaum
Full disclosure: the first time I saw a WHY? album (Eskimo Snow, in case you’re wondering) I passed over it without giving a second thought. At the time I was being inundated with new albums from many tried and true indie rockers. But with the release of Moh Lhean in March, WHY? has made me wish that I had given them a listen sooner.
The Berkley, California four piece is led by Yoni Wolf, a mad scientist of sound who doesn’t let studio gizmos distract from a well crafted melodic hook, or an enthralling chorus. In fact, it’s the blend of these two elements that makes the music so captivating. The tracks are filled with organic sounds, drumbeats click and pop more than they bash, whistles and strings flitter around verses like birds. Yet, what gives many of the songs a haunting staying power, is that they also sound fresh thanks to its inventive production. Moh Lhean is what it might sound like if you placed an ancient tribe of stone age musicians in a room of synthesizers and guitars. Like the best material from Sufjan Stevens, Peter Gabriel, and Animal Collective, while listening to WHY? one ear is tuned to the sonic collage that’s being composed, while the other is tuned to the message underlying it all.
Take a listen to the track “Easy” off his recently released album Moh Lhean here: