WHY? — Sod In The Seed EP

13 08 2012

Artist: WHY?

Album: Sod In The Seed EP

Genre: Indie Rock/Experimental Hip-Hop

Year: 2012

Tracks:

1.) Sod in the Seed

2.) For Someone

3.) The Plan

4.) Probable Cause

5.) Twenty Seven

6.) Shag Carpet

Download:

Soundcloud

I am very excited to be posting my thoughts on Sod in the Seed for a multitude of reasons, but I can sum them all up quite neatly by saying right off the bat that if I had to listen to one band only for the rest of my life it would probably be WHY?.  And furthermore, if I had to pick a favorite band of all time, it would also be WHY?.  The Anticon outfit bridges gaps between instrumentally lush indie rock and heady outlandish rapping, and is fronted by mastermind Yoni Wolf.  Yoni, whose career expands across many different Anticon hip-hop collectives, is as on-point as ever with lyrics so vivid and articulate that you’d think you were having a conversation with the guy, as well as some of the catchiest WHY? melodies yet.  As you might already guess, my opinion on this album will be incredibly biased, but if you feel like you need me to validate this album any further before you download it right away, I can tell you right here and now what I like about every song on this 16-minute EP.  The EP’s title track, “Sod in the Seed,” took a little growing on me when I first heard it, but I’ve come to really enjoy this track after further listening.  I felt as if some of the references to fuel efficiency and vehicle choice seemed a little out of place at first, almost as if Yoni was desperately grasping for something interesting to write about, but the track turns out to have some rather engaging moments if you follow it.  I particularly enjoyed the titular line: “Good and evil’s often neither strength nor flaw, but sod in the seed of what you are.”  The next track, “For Someone,” takes the band in a new direction with a quick, snappy drum loop carrying the verses.  This track demonstrates just the right amount of experimentation one should expect from a band writing new material; its rhythm immediately sets the piece apart from any other WHY? tracks, but it brings the sound back into beautiful familiarity with a hook-tastic chorus in the band’s classic style.  The lyrics definitely point towards Yoni’s love of crypticism and puzzles, particularly the opening verse in which Yoni takes the listener through an enigmatic and metaphorical passageway.  “The Plan” follows, with a much slower groove that’s more heavy on hand-claps and organ chords than jungle beats.  The track is somewhat of a low point for the album solely due to its lack of energy compared to other tracks, however, it has its place in the album as as a quality track at the lowest point of momentum.  “Probable Cause” makes the uphill climb back into pop-level energy, and although its story is concise and unnerving, its dancing keys propel the EP into the teetering number (pun intended), “Twenty Seven.”  (A brief aside—compare this track title to “Twenty Eight” from Alopecia, or “January Twenty Something” from Eskimo Snow for mindfuck.)  The track lurches forward drunkenly, in a perfect rhythmic tension that skews Yoni’s lyrics to sound awkward and hesitantly delivered.  Of course, our frontman’s charisma comes back in full for the always sobering chorus, which builds a heavy contrast to the arrhythmic verses.  And as if the fact that “Twenty Seven” literally builds up into a blur leading into the last track doesn’t indicate it well enough, “Shag Carpet” comes in to finish the album on a very strong foot.  Choir-aah arpeggios and an expansive bass line send Yoni’s lyrics flying, as this track completely dissolves the awkwardness and tension that Sod in the Seed tinkers with.  Instead of the meekness found on “For Someone” and “Probable Cause,” the chorus of “Shag Carpet” is driven by a confident hum that seems to resolve hesitancy instantly.

As any music fan knows, change is a frightening prospect, especially in regard to one’s favorite band.  But I can tell I have nothing to fear for later this year when WHY? will release Mumps, Etc., its first LP since 2009.  Sod in the Seed has plainly demonstrated to me that not only will WHY? retain their time-refined ability to tell compelling stories through music, but that they will take their mastery to new levels of songwriting as well; this EP has removed any doubt from my mind that I will love Mumps, Etc. as much as the rest of WHY?’s discography.  It was by no means a difficult task, but Great Neptune did they nail it.


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