Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Review: The Whigs, In the Dark

The Whigs
In the Dark

The first association everyone seems to want to make with garage rock trio The Whigs is to fellow Southerners Kings of Leon – and sadly, I must agree with everyone when comparing both bands’ most recent albums. In The Dark and Only By The Night are almost identical in the fact that they signal the transition from raw, indie Southern rock to packaged, Hollywood-produced noise. That doesn’t mean that it’s unpleasant to listen to, necessarily; just that it’s almost entirely unoriginal.

The song arrangements are repetitive and formulaic. Take a basic bass line, add a strong but simple percussion beat, top it all off with an arching guitar solo and power vocals, and voila! You have, more or less, the entirety of In The Dark. There are slight variations of course, as with the slower but no more artistically crafted “I Don’t Even Care About The One I Love,” but for the most part, The Whigs stick to their formula.

And it does work, to an extent. The album is by no means impossible to enjoy if you’re in the market for a mindless but fun excuse to bust out your air instruments and scream along with the music. The Whigs are upbeat, they’re loud, they’re having fun. It’s obvious that they’re hoping for their audience to achieve something similar, even as they fall incredibly short. If you like your albums to be a little more carefully crafted, a little more clever, a little more engaging, then In The Dark is most definitely not for you. I’ll probably keep it in my iTunes library, though, in case the urge to head bang while in Lau ever strikes.
Song Picks:
"Black Lotus," "Kill Me Carolyne"

- Emily Simpson
Host, "Don't You Wish We Were NPR?" Monday 8:00-10:00 AM on WGTB

Catch our on-air interview with The Whigs here

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