Record Bulletin

Anohni and Whitney – Reviews

anohni-hopelessnessANOHNI – Hopelessness (Secretly Canadian): Ever seen a protest you agreed with that had a participant you thought kind of undermined the seriousness of the issue? Like it’s an anti-war march and there’s a hippie couple with no pants? And you know they believe in what they’re opposing but that they don’t see that their earnestness is still kinda ridiculous given the forum? Or maybe you’re with a group of people and politics comes up and there’s a mouthy leftist you agree with at first before he starts to drift precariously toward the conspiracy theory cliff? Or maybe you knew a kid in high school who wrote a POV Holocaust poem and you cringed hard even though you know the intention was good? Well, how else are you supposed to feel about Anohni’s song “Drone Bomb Me,” which she says is “a love song from the perspective of a girl in Afghanistan, say a 9-year-old girl whose family’s been killed by a drone bomb”? Or when she refers to the NSA who’s watching her watch porn as ‘Daddy’? So why, if I agree so much with the sentiments here, can I not get into it? It’s not just that every diatribe is so on the nose as to be completely inartful, it’s that I also like to enjoy myself. Did Anohni enjoy making this album? “This album was me not only making a series of indictments of our world, but also dealing with my own complicity as a participant in this prevailing consumer culture we’re all enmeshed in.” What fun. C

whitney-light-upon-the-lakeWHITNEY – Light Upon the Lake (Secretly Canadian): This ‘supergroup’ pulls its two principals, Julien Ehrlich and Max Kakacek, from Smith Westerns and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and remaining performers come from another Ehrlich vehicle the Touching Voids. (How many of those bands have you heard of? And do you think a collision between several of them—who, remember, already pretty much played together—warrants the label supergroup?) Ehrlich, the drummer, sings lead—and hey, no judgment; pulling a Phil Collins, that’s cool—which is an odd choice since his, uh, style can only be described as Barry Gibb on tranquilizers. (Exhibits A and B.) So really, it doesn’t matter how pretty the guitars are or how they sneak short passages of strings into their choruses—there are six other dudes in the band, so why in God’s name wouldn’t you ask one of them to fucking sing? D


Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II (Jagjaguwar ’13)B PLUS (*)


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