Why?
Elephant Eyelash


4.0
excellent

Review

by Cam EMERITUS
March 3rd, 2009 | 19 replies | 10,295 views


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist


When Why?’s Elephant Eyelash opens, with some Sung Tongs-esque drums and some sad, melodic guitar playing, it’s easy to write it off as another indie-folk album; at least, that’s what I was thinking it was when I heard the first thirty seconds of “Crushed Bones”. Eventually, however, Jonathon ‘Yoni’ Wolf enters, nimbly applying his deft flow and abstract and emotional lyrics to the band’s unique instrumentation. Wolf is also the best part of Elephant Eyelash, yet it seems like this shouldn’t be so: his lyrics never make much sense and are, at times, bit too airy and whimsy for comfort, but the emotion behind lines such as ‘I want to always be on film/to be caught in the cut coffee sober’ and ‘tasting the tears that run down the gutter two teeth make/tears in route running a groove in your cheek’ is impossible to conceal.

These poignant moments-- where Wolf’s lyrics are at his most straight-forward-- are among Elephant Eyelash’s best, but there’s plenty of good to be found in the more abstract moments too, especially throughout the beautifully building dynamics of “Waterfalls”, where Wolf raps ‘the erosions cries cause make whiskers prematurely sprout in men/and in women/homogenize complexion’ with a flow so simple and familiar that it might as well be your best friend rapping. While there’s nothing truly remarkable about Wolf’s rapping in a technical sense, it’s foolish to claim he doesn’t have reasonable talent: his deadpan tone and emotional tales of stoned afternoons and lonely alienation are an interesting mix, and one that’s certainly separates Wolf from the pack.

Wolf isn’t the whole story here: he surrounds himself with two good friends and a brother on Elephant Eyelash, turning Why? into a band for the first time; somehow, however, this quartet instead sounds as if they’d been playing together for years. Songs such as “Sanddollars” simply couldn’t be tighter, as Matt Meldon’s emphasis on melodic guitar lines and Josiah Wolf’s simple yet proficient drumming combine to create a more-than-capable backbone to Wolf’s (the rapper) tale of a far-ago time. Elephant Eyelash is awash with as equally impressive and oddly nostalgic moments, as if the slow-burning acoustic-rap of “Crushed Bones” and the strained desperations and thumping percussion of “Whispers Into the Other” are all something you’ve played in your head for years beforehand. It’s certainly satisfying to hear these songs-- songs you’ve basically already wrote-- finally drift out of your speakers.

Elephant Eyelash is a memorable experience, and one that’s simultaneously light-hearted yet grounded and sometimes melancholic. The latter is all thanks to Wolf, whose lyrics and performance are more personal and depressing-- especially the defeated, almost pissed tone he takes in “Act Five”-- than he realizes. His band is more like an eternal ray of light, occasionally obscured by dark clouds on “Act Five” and “Fall Saddles”, but mostly playing sunny, accessible music. The two create a juxtaposition that defines Why?, and also-- as gay as it sounds-- defines most of us as people, which is ultimately why Elephant Eyelash is such a special record.



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user ratings (104)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
aidanwm (3.5)
where elephant eyelash succeeds most is not the public humiliations yoni wolf endures through his br...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
joshuatree
Emeritus
March 3rd 2009



3743 Comments


really good this is

Athom
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2009



17204 Comments


I guess i'll give this a go. For some reason I couldnt really get in to Alopecia though.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
March 3rd 2009



4950 Comments


you couldn't get into it cause it wasn't very good. i don't think i'll even bother with this.

decent review

handoman
March 3rd 2009



2386 Comments


good album

natey
March 3rd 2009



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Yo Yo Bye Bye" and "Sanddollars" fucking rule. Happy to see a review for this.

ClearTheLane
March 4th 2009



990 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great that u reviewed this. Def not just another indie album, sometimes it's even hip hop haha.
2nd track is the best.

poweroftheweez
March 4th 2009



1290 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i like this album. and this review.

illmitch
March 4th 2009



5429 Comments


i can seriously barely stand to listen to a single song...this is a good review, but i just don't like anything on anticon.

robin
Emeritus
March 4th 2009



4248 Comments


love rubber traits the most

jrowa001
March 4th 2009



8750 Comments


i still need to get this. Alopecia is awesome

LaidToRest329
April 10th 2009



158 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Why is there no love for Gemini or Light Leaves? They are my two favorite songs on this cd.

natey
April 28th 2009



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

'Cause I say rain when it's only a drizzle
You get stoned like death in the bible

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
August 2nd 2009



15730 Comments


Crushed Bones is such a great track, shame the new Why? album is kinda lame

Digging: Alvvays - Alvvays

gaslightanthem
August 2nd 2009



5209 Comments


alopecia > this

natey
August 25th 2010



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

There'll be a time for drying up and dying on sidewalks
Years for beards in the bushes in someone's backyard

Whatsgood
February 28th 2012



177 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I think Why? are just one of those bands that get me randy.

Whatsgood
March 1st 2012



177 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

So you get where I'm coming from then?

Seriously though Gemini is such a good song.

sixthgoldenticket
March 19th 2012



1176 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

singer sounds like aaron weiss, which is a good thing.

bassasaurus
October 20th 2012



8 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've been a fan of Yoni's music for... uh, well a really long time. To me, the Anticon guys have come along way as musicians. The Wolf brothers especially.
Love this album. It's my favorite of his by far. A classic.



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