The Whatevers - Lo-fi Infidelity: The Best of The Whatevers - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Whatevers - Lo-fi Infidelity: The Best of The Whatevers

by Andy Brown Rating:8 Release Date:2012-10-08

The Whatevers, in many ways, were the ideal indie-pop band. They wrote bittersweet paeans to love, sex and cigarettes; they had self-mythologising lyrics and lo-fi production values; they were twee and punk all within the space of one song and, most importantly, they split up before anyone had really heard of them. Lo-Fi Infidelity: The Best of The Whatevers does what any great best-of should and introduces you to the band's world through a selection of their finest moments. If you don't love The Whatevers by the time the sweetly melancholic 'Go Play on the Motorway' swoons its last swoon then maybe there's something wrong with you.

The album opens with the superb 'Having Sex and Taking Drugs', which manages to encapsulate the band's perspective rather well as Kate Bisson sings: "Having sex and taking drugs/ coming down and throwing up/ it's not as much fun as it looks/ no one enjoys it very much". By the time main songwriter Mike Relton croons the songs immaculate chorus you'll know if The Whatevers are the band for you: "Sometimes it's all too much to handle".

Lo-fi Infidelity is jam-packed full of glorious pop hooks, knowing winks and bedsit romanticism. This band excelled at the kind of kitchen sink drama we used to hear from The Smiths but, as the band have pointed out, they really don't sound anything like them. Lo-Fi infidelity sounds unreservedly and unapologetically like The Whatevers.

The interplay between Bisson and Relton makes for some of the albums most memorable moments; indie-pop's answer to Johnny Cash and June Carter perhaps. Just listen to the delicately beautiful 'Rhapsody in Blue Jeans' as they sing in unison, "Couple of gigs at the local youth club then the spectacular break up… Yeah, right". It's such an intimate, heartfelt song but the band aren't necessarily opening their diaries to us. As Relton informs: "Lo-fi keeps the meaning vague".

This indie-pop chemistry comes to the fore again with the brilliant 'Let's Not Get Bogged Down in Semantics', with Bisson singing "Whenever you quote from the early Manics/ I reach for my semi-automatic", before Relton replies "You don't have to be so pedantic/ how dare you mention the post-punk classics". The Whatevers have plenty to say but never take themselves too seriously.

There are quite a few songs from their debut album, Art and Sex (albeit slightly different versions), with highlights including the potentially dancefloor-filling anti-anthem 'All the Dirty Kids All the Dead Rockstars' . There are a few cracking tunes from their last proper album, the self-explanatory Modern Pop Music, although I probably would have opted for 'Sounds Like The Beatles' over the uncharacteristically angst-ridden 'Morphine'. You can always download the album (for free on their Bandcamp page) and make up your own mind about that.

My personal highlight comes in the form of 'Violence for Northern Independence' from the All Your Indie Heroes LP. It's hard to pin-point why I love this song so much but from the janglesome chord progression to Bisson's effortlessly melancholic vocals, it's got something undeniably special and it gets to me every single time.

The Whatevers were far from perfect but when they got it right they made the most effortlessly brilliant indie-pop you could hope to hear. Lo-Fi Infidelity is a perfectly imperfect introduction to the fuzzy indie-pop styling's of Mike Relton, Kate Bisson, Claire Stemp and Al Brown. They might just be your new favourite band.

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