Why? - Sod in the Seed EP - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Why? - Sod in the Seed EP

by Al Brown Rating:7 Release Date:2012-08-13

Confession time: I'd only ever heard of Why? because someone witheringly described them to me as 'backpacker music', probably at a party somewhere. And as loath as I am to trust the wisdom of strangers at parties, the term 'backpacker music' seemed such a perfectly formed put-down I couldn't resist clinging to it. I could imagine exactly what they sounded like: milquetoast moralists with a penchant for world music, no doubt; stoner Beck-fans cherry-picking the easy bits of black music, putting their dire middle-class spin on it, and waiting for it to blow up through college-dorm (slash-Thai-hostel) word-of-mouth. But enough of my prejudices.

The

is some kind of boho consumerist slice-of-life thing: a million lines about hybrid cars and "refurbished Mac G4s" spaced out with a Herman Dünesque chorus. Later there is some Palahniukian scatology (a line about "shitting black blood"), and because there is craft in there, it almost hangs together. There's something not quite clicking, though, and it's probably that I don't really care about our rapper's struggle to reconcile his privileged upbringing (and taste for fetishized consumer goods) with a greater cause. No amount of self-aware self-effacement ("I scribble vapid raps/ on your flyer-backs") can really make up for it.

'For Someone' is more chilled: drowsy basslines and an intermittent glockenspiel line combine to form a semi-deconstructed reggae groove; the lyrics are once again obsessed with meaningless details, then turn sleepily euphoric in the chorus. It is quite pretty: I can actually imagine a less cynical version of myself listening only to 'Drinking in L.A.' by Bran Van 3000 on Saturday Nights and 'For Someone' on Sunday Mornings. I'd be happy, I think.

'The Plan' sounds like something off Music from the Big Pink, though less po-faced; more intimate. I like it. 'Twenty Seven - for F.M.V.' sounds very much like Los Campesinos!, though it's less hyper than LC! tend to be and therefore better. 'Shag Carpet' is back to the rapping malarkey. Again, the lyrics and flow are decent and the voice is dorky-and-trying-not-to-be. It doesn't really go anywhere and I don't really know what it's meant to be about or what it's trying to prove. But considering all that it ain't bad, y'know?

So yeah, some good stuff to be had here, and I'm definitely leaning more and more towards earnest types like Why? - who at least have some coherent thoughts and show their working - rather than your off-the-shelf 2012 indie bullshit where the lyrics are either inaudible or fashionably incoherent. Don't get sucked in by that meaningless ambiguity, kids, and don't trust strangers at parties.

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