Know Your Product
Published: March 16, 2011
This is one of those amazing records that kind of just makes you sit back and go, What? Maybe it’s something to do with hearing the unlikely art of lyrics written to free-jazz-qua-shred-punk—music that don’t make much sense as it is, let alone when combined with actual English language syntax. Or maybe it’s just marveling at how Whoarfrost’s debut full-length feels so much like a controlled landslide. Whatever the case, the net effect of Whoarfrost—the album—is one big confused and stupid grin.
Calling the words “lyrics” here may be a bit of a stretch. A vocal presence in music like this—both contorted and totally without gravity—seems sometimes like it’s there simply to prove that Whoarfrost can put vocals to this sound. The lyrics are made up of lines and snips of thought that occupy the same weird realm of deep-space nonsense and lucidity the music does: “The time has come to rid the world of the useless ones,” “The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of . . . death,” “smell the devil’s breath” and other street-corner rant kinda stuff, much of which is unintelligibly buried in the mix.
As you might’ve guessed, it’s hard to get much of a bead on what kind of music Whoarfrost even is. In some ways, it recalls Yukon’s jazzy, mathy lava and/or Ponytail’s ecstatic, radiant guitar excursions and/or a good deal of the tightly wound free-jazz that lurks in Baltimore under various banners, but with fantastic guitar acrobatics. The Pleasant Livers? In other words, there isn’t much else like it at all.
Oddly enough, it takes the 18-minute closing jam “Conscious Without Function” for Whoarfrost to really make sense, or unfurl into a fantastic mess of psych-rock combustion, acrid electric smolder, and herky-jerky contortion that somehow feels natural. Perhaps it just takes a whole record for the band’s sonic language to establish itself—or, more likely, sometimes it just takes longer than three or four minutes for nonsense to start to make sense.
Whoarfrost plays the golden west Café march 23. for more information visit facebook.com/whoarfrost.
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