Dave McGovern
staff writer
September 08, 2005
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Rock Music Reviews
Why?
Elephant Eyelash

Yoni Wolf is Why? Er . . . was Why? Yoni is an avant rapper, er . . . was an avant rapper. Why? is now a 4 piece and their sound has become less rap and more Brian Wilson melodies melded with Ben Folds piano pop and Fiery Furnaces schizophrenia with hip hop leanings and Wayne Coyne production (whew!). Swirling layers of keyboards, more of a sing than a spit in the vocals and gently picked acoustic guitar low in the mix with heavy support from the piano and hip hop drums are the current tools of trade for Why? At first listen the album may be a bit dry, but the listener really needs to take out the magnifying glass and listen. This ain’t no party album kids.

Elephant Eyelash is a journey of self-conscious mumblings, angry soliloquies, broken relationships and social commentary lain gently over probably the best produced music of the year. I had to listen to this album for about 3 weeks straight before I could summon up the courage and articulate my feelings for this record. Not because I could not make up my mind about whether I liked the album, but because I was so overwhelmed by the album. On each listen I would hear a new track in the mix, another layer revealed itself.

Highlights of the album include the Flaming Lips dramatic ethereal piano pop of “Yo Yo Bye Bye”, the soothing melodic wall and side kick bass percussion of “Rubber Traits”, and the descending clapping piano and Beach Boy vocal melodies of “Sanddollars”. Overall the album has huge replay value and is a extremely relaxed listen.

As always, Yoni’s lyrics are outstanding: “I’m fucking cold like a DQ blizzard/ You act like a slut but you’re really a freezer” (from “Yo Yo Bye Bye”), “I wanna verb and you give me a noun/what do you dream up when I tongue you down” (from Gemini (birthday song)) “All the people who taught me card tricks are dying/I’ve been trying to steal my grandfather’s handsome from old photographs” (from “Act Five”). These lyrics are the kind of words you’d find scribbled in a small memo pad at the back of your English classroom under a desk with all the ball point graffiti on it. This is poetry never meant to see the light of day, but its pure talent demands appreciation.

Elephant Eyelash is an accessable pop-hop acoustic synth album for beginners and experts alike. With blue hoodies, khakis, and studio head phones on, walk down the street then ride the bus listening to the album on low volume letting the urban sounds blend into the tracks. And if you do leave the earth when the earth leaves you don’t brush that eyelash from your cheek, let it come along for the ride.

Release date: October 4, 2005
Label: Anticon
Rating: 7.5 / 10

[RMR]