Wicca Phase Springs Eternal
SECRET BOY


3.5
great

Review

by BlushfulHippocrene STAFF
February 19th, 2017 | 43 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: But here we are

Speculation can often be unhelpful within the realm of mental illness, and in particular when regarding art: after all, depression is, for most, quite personal; and art as a means of expressing said emotion is as honest an admission as most audiences deserve. Yet, whilst Adam McIlwee’s departure from emo band Tigers Jaw in 2013 (to which he was a founding member) lead to the emergence of a more trap-inspired project in Wicca Phase Springs Eternal under the Gothboiclique (GBC), still his abandonment – oft-framed betrayal – of his other, more well-established band was subject to the sort of unhelpful conjecture that can devitalise an artist’s growth. Entertaining these notions, one could arrive at a number of conclusions prior to a description of Wicca Phase’s sound: Adam is a heroin addict, a man who’s succumbed to the mindless, depressive ramblings of a sad drug addict; or, more damaging to the artist, that his work with Wicca Phase Springs Eternal was, in some sense, ironic, awful in an attempt to be subversive, objectionable in the name of contrarianism. Of course, neither of these accusations bears much weight. Even so, entertaining these notions, of what pertinence do the two now hold?

Elitism aside, and forgoing speculation, Adam’s work with Wicca Phase Springs Eternal is, on all accounts, just as masterful in its atmosphere as Tigers Jaw was in its prime. Because McIlwee’s attempted departmentalisation of emotion into distinct environments of their own has been apparent since the band’s latest affair with the former frontman. Charmer was, as his work since has been, masterful in its atmosphere, to the extent that one might have reasonably been excused for having assumed an unintended narrative onto an album in which there didn’t seem to be one. Likewise, Secret Boy invites the listener into a despondent yet colourful world of its own creation: the secret life of the secret boy.

Since their inception, Wicca Phase Springs Eternal have occupied an uncertain space between the trap and hip hop production that inspires them, and the project’s peppier, emo-routed melodic sensibilities. Equal parts familiar and charming to some, Adam’s characteristic drawl – sometimes off-beat, often with an affecting deepness – whilst vital to the success of the album, often takes a backseat to Secret Boy’s effortless contrast between its lazy crooning, and its dark, minimal trap beats. With a plethora of different producers, some of which not unfamiliar to GBC and Adam, there is a consistent and effective effort made towards a general feeling of bleak hopelessness. Opener ‘It Takes’ loops flaccid acoustic strums atop an amalgamation of subtle crunches, hand drums, and synthetic high hat rattles, the combination of which results in what is the aural manifestation of a despondent head bob, limbs stiff and mouth agape.

Whilst Secret Boy never wavers in its creators’ earnest introspection, throughout its short runtime, this successful effort to sustain the album’s vague atmosphere sometimes manifest in what is uncertain meandering. ‘I’m Not Gonna Do It,’ an otherwise solid song, with its tight vocal performance and dark percussion, uses a piano sample that creates a backbone for the rest of the track – a piano sample that is as aimless as it is uninteresting in its jarring gloominess. For a melancholic musical phrase to stick out so incongruously on what is already such a desolate album is surprising, particularly in the case that similarly odd, organic instrumentation works so well on other tracks such as ‘I Lose Everything’, which samples an acoustic rendition of blink-182’s ‘Stockholm Syndrome Interlude’: the sample is, against all odds, a fitting backdrop for the song’s more synthetic moments. Despite unfitting moments like in the aforementioned ‘I’m Not Gonna Do It,’ the album’s instrumental and atmospheric consistency play just as much into the album’s bland homogeneity as does its mastery. ‘Secret Boy’ more than makes up for these temporary lapses in vitality, adopting an intoxicating chiming pattern that bubbles beneath the song’s jangles and tight percussion. Adam’s layered emotional yearning and lethargic ramblings are juxtaposed perfectly with the featherweight instrumental of the title track.

Although Wicca Phase’s music is somewhat contradictorily characterised by lyrical themes of dissociation and escapism, it is, quite obviously, counterbalanced by the way in which Secret Boy – and quite a lot of GBC’s work – reaches out to listeners of a like mind. I feel apprehensive towards analysis of said lyrical themes because of this. Despite the sense of an alluring mystique, Adam McIlwee is as transparent an artist as most. In the vein of other musicians like Kanye West, of whom Adam makes reference to on ‘Like I’m Tom May,’ the music is made to be overtly personal, self-centred even, a character portrait of sorts. Speculation and contextual evidence aside, Secret Boy, as a representation of Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, is compelling. Dissociation and escapism are obstructed rather intrusively, healthily even, by a need to express. It’s earnest and proud; charming.



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user ratings (40)
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
February 19th 2017


3110 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Originally posted to http://illicitlistening.com/category/music/ (Which I recommend because there are some great writers on there.)

Criticism welcome. I love Adam McIlwee and Tigers Jaw and WPSE. I hope it reads well, I love you all.

Stream/download: http://wiccaphase.bandcamp.com/album/secret-boy

Digging: Leonard Cohen - Thanks For The Dance

Snake.
February 19th 2017


21817 Comments


pos'd hard

miss adam so much

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
February 19th 2017


3110 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cheers Snake! Adam is the best...

AsleepInTheBack
March 1st 2017


6064 Comments


Astounding review blushful. Mindbogglingly good.

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
March 1st 2017


3110 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wow, thank you, Ben! As usual, it means a lot. ))

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
March 10th 2017


17189 Comments


Awesome stuff dude, I can't believe I missed this! Gonna have to finish it later, but you write like a scholar haha

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
March 11th 2017


3110 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Haha, thanks a lot for reading it, Neeka. :] I'd suggest listening to it, but I'm not sure if it'd be your thing.

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
March 11th 2017


17189 Comments


No problem, man! I might check it out just for the hell of it lol. Always open to new things

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
March 12th 2017


3110 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

If you're interested, Neeka, best to check their new EP, Stop Torturing Me, I think it's their most accessible work. It's also quite short.

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
March 14th 2017


25085 Comments


woah howd I miss this review? nice as always. just started listening to this project. Idk if his vox work at alllll with the cloud rap feel though. seems really awkward to me

Gleam
June 3rd 2017


434 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this album is the shit

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
June 3rd 2017


3110 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Incredible album, agreed. Some of his best work.

ZombieToyDuck
November 17th 2017


7076 Comments


Didn't know tigers jaw's old lead singer went off in this direction, this is quite odd...

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
November 17th 2017


25085 Comments


ikr? I was very weirded out when I heard this is what he was doing. very hit n miss for me

Papa Universe
November 17th 2017


22454 Comments


tags: hip-hop, emo, indie rock

uuuuuuuuuugggggggghhhhhh

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
November 17th 2017


25085 Comments


he was Lil Peep's homeboy, both were in Gothboiclique

Papa Universe
November 17th 2017


22454 Comments


uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuggggggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
November 17th 2017


25085 Comments


calm down no one is forcing ya to listen to this.

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
November 17th 2017


25085 Comments


dont you dare ruin my boi Blush's review thread with this shit

Papa Universe
November 17th 2017


22454 Comments


I pos'd it already, that means I can do as I please.



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