The Whigs
In The Dark


2.0
poor

Review

by Jared P. STAFF
March 15th, 2010 | 12 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Just a fading shadow left from the bigger model of excellence.

Listening to The Whigs is kind of like watching a B-grade movie on Lifetime: what's experienced is based on an idea that’s all well and good, but it’s already been done much better by bigger members of the same family. I guess you could just attribute the ho-hum product to Parker Gispert’s sporty, run-of-the-mill vocals that find safety and security in a place between the likes of Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl and a cleaned-up version of Billy Corgan, or maybe even to the distortion-flooded modern rock The Whigs play that masquerades under the guise of what is meant to be a takeoff of competent 90s indie rock – ala Pavement. The Whigs really sound just as washed out and unmoving as that pile of used, post-What’s The Story Morning Glory Oasis albums hiding under the weight of several Nevermind records in your local FYE store: when it really comes down to it, the music to be found therein is just a fading shadow left from the bigger model of excellence.

Enter third effort In The Dark. This year’s new offering was recorded without Hank Sullivant, the band’s first bassist and, up until 2006, co-songwriter that had a hand in writing nearly all of The Whigs’ pre-In The Dark material. His loss is certainly felt, as a large portion of this album buzzes and fizzles instead of rocks and drives – and I’m not just talking about the shoegaze-drenched guitars either. ‘I wanted more, and I can’t ignore,’ admits Parker Gispert with his best Grohl impression - funny, I was actually thinking the same thing - over the buzzed, melodic background of second track “Black Lotus”, a song that whizzes by and fails to leave any remarkable impression. That's really the main problem with this album, actually, which happens to be much more bothersome here than on The Whigs’ previous offerings: everything is unremarkable and dry, buzzing to the end with its play on bigger bands like Kings Of Leon or Guided By Voices, while failing to keep anybody in for the long ride.

“So Lonely” throws the ‘I’m so lonely when you’re around’ ploy – as if we haven’t already heard that before, eh? - and the one-track bass tones and staccato melody of “I Don’t Care About the One I Love” just sound redundant musically, as well as lyrically: ‘I don’t even care about the one I love, and there’s a black heart inside of me” – isn’t that already implied with the first clause? For all the areas that In The Dark fizzes awkwardly into mediocrity, a few of the songs would, however, actually fit right at home on the US modern rock radio. “I Am For Real” is such a track that might land an impression on the Stars and Stripes, sporting The Whigs' best set of lyrics on In The Dark, as well as the best chorus: '…I don’t need to walk in your backyard / just to let you know where I stand'; and, likewise, the title track following immediately after has all the right moves in all the right places to fully distinguish itself and stand out above the rest of the songs on the album: a stumper of a verse asserts Parker and the band before an anthemic chorus sets in, effectively carrying this track onward to glory. Too bad these two highlights come after eight tracks of drivel, though.

Naked we are born, and naked we shall return, or at least that seems to be the case with The Whig’s In The Dark, closing on the aptly titled “Naked”. It’s a bit ironic, though, as this track is the one place on this album where the band break through the pseudo-faux, modern rock-indie disguise and actually create something with some real substance. Beginning with ambiance, Parker enters over a steady drum thumping and electric guitar plucking with the whispered suave and finesse of many-a-respectable indie rock vocalist. He proclaims in the sped-up, heavier chorus sections, ‘I don’t think I want my clothes back anymore’; and that, actually, right there, is the cure to the problem that The Whigs seem to have run into on new album In The Dark: just leave the disguises out next time and go with the flow, man, even if it means that you’re running around naked while doing so. At least things will start to get exciting then, right?



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user ratings (11)
3
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Observer
Staff Reviewer
March 15th 2010


7321 Comments


stream: http://www.spinner.com/new-releases#/5

Digging: Shiner - Lula Divinia

Romulus
March 15th 2010


8569 Comments


I feel like this is one of your stronger reviews. Nice job, pos'd.

Observer
Staff Reviewer
March 15th 2010


7321 Comments


Thanks, Rom. I always appreciate your comments.



EVedder27
March 15th 2010


6088 Comments


Rom's comment pretty much sums it up. Thought your descriptions were great and this has a really good flow to it.

Observer
Staff Reviewer
March 15th 2010


7321 Comments


Thanks, Mike. I'm definitely trying to work on the flow area of my writing.



AggravatedYeti
March 16th 2010


7683 Comments


Listening to The Whigs is kind of like watching a B-grade movie on Lifetime: what's experienced is based on an idea that’s all well and good, but it’s already been done much better by bigger members of the same family


exactly how Ive always felt about this band.

and I agree, review has a very nice flow to it.
crappy as usual Jared :D

Observer
Staff Reviewer
March 16th 2010


7321 Comments


Thanks, Yeti!

glad to see you know of these guys too haha

AggravatedYeti
March 16th 2010


7683 Comments


Haha yeah, when I was living in Georgia, I had a few friends from Athens who were high school buds with these guys.

their live show is a lot of fun too, surprising considering the boring music.

Observer
Staff Reviewer
March 16th 2010


7321 Comments


Yeah, I read that their stuff is supposed to transition to a live setting very well, and I could see how it might. Were they touring with Kings of leon when you saw them, or was it just a smaller local thing?

AggravatedYeti
March 16th 2010


7683 Comments


no no, it was the Athens' Music Fest, basically a bunch of local bands fill up the clubs for a few nights. but it's Athens so fucking Whigs, Of Montreal, & Olivia Tremor Control are 'local'


Donkey
March 17th 2010


152 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Interesting review. The last track kicked mine up to a 2.5. But this is definitely a forgettable album.

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
September 19th 2014


19186 Comments


So these guys just played at my local record store last week, pretty cool acoustic set.



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