Anticon Records

The barrier to entry on Why?'s new CD, Alopecia, is sizable for those who aren't fans of semi-sarcastic, semi-rapped barbs cloaked in aloof quips and maudlin, morose imagery. On "By Torpedo or Crohn's" (can that actually be the title?), frontman Yoni Wolf informs us that, "Today after lunch/I got sick and blew chunks/All over my new shoes/In the lot behind Whole Foods." Elsewhere he is "jerking off in an art-museum john until my dick hurts/The kind of shit I won't admit to my head shrinker." These type of wince-worthy lyrics give one the impression that the musically gifted Wolf is not especially comfortable with himself, which is not a crime, and that he refuses to employ the services of an editor, which should be. But anyone who gives the disc enough spins (it took me about 15) will likely fall under Alopecia's spell. Recorded at Third Ear Studios in Minneapolis, the arrangements are outstanding throughout, melding emo rap with dreamy electronic interludes and hook-heavy indie pop. Produced by Wolf and his brother Josiah, the album has more than its share of outstanding beats, from the opener, "The Vowels Pt. 2," to "Brook & Waxing" and "Simeon's Dilemma," the last two backed by subtly inviting key parts. "Simeon's Dilemma" is a double bonus because it ratchets down the hipsterisms and lets a bit of sincerity through. "You're the only proper noun I need" is not exactly Shakespearian, but it gets the idea across.

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