Whenwolves Recon for the Weirdos
I’ve been a long time fan of Bobby Lewis’s art-sound musical-projects-turned-bands, most recently the now defunct Mustardmind. So I was excited when I found out he had started a new outfit along with his brother, Billy. A little late to the game, I bumped into Lewis at a show and learned he’d started Whenwolves (a named I’d started to see popping up on live bills with bands I love at venues I frequent). We here at FTA premiered their last single (see what we said here), the mathy dreamy “The Minutes” and spent many many more minutes digging into their debut five song EP, Recon for the Weirdos.
Lewis explains that following the expiration of his last band during the pandemic, “picking up the pieces and starting work on new music fell solely on his shoulders, as there were no other bandmates to develop the songs with at the time” Eventually he recruited Eric Slick (of Dr. Dog) to play drums and Kristin Slipp (of mmeadows and Dirty Projectors) for backing vocals, in addition to his aforementioned brother on bass. What resulted was a new live band ready to play shows and cool quirky EP to support this new endeavor.
Whenwolves (photo by Michael Lefco)
Opening track, “Chin Up!” sets the tone of the record, employing a subtle power in its piano attack across Slipp’s ghostly backing vocals. It somehow manages to remain relatively simple in structure but feel a little mathy at the same time. The composition of elements is so good, that I stopped counting almost immediately, and my brain leaned toward the ripping guitar lines.
Whenwolves know how to let the beat… mmmmdrop? I’ve previously likened them to God Lives Underwater, and tracks like “Impostorium” reinforce that in a way that also brings out bits reminiscent of Radiohead’s more experimental guitar work mixed melodic choices that feel almost Incubus somehow.
But at the end of the day, I’m a sucker for a good pop song, and it’s the final track “Sugarcoat” with its mellow electric piano spine and perfectly fuzzed guitar that hooked me on Recon for the Weirdos. It’s a sweet hook infused closer that hits like sunny Sunday morning cup of coffee and goes down smooth like a dose of OkGo power pop ballad. Not quite sure in the end if they actually “sugarcoat the worst parts and leave best parts out,” but what they left for us is indeed a charmingly smart record worth peeling into.
Recon for the Weirdos is out now and available via Bandcamp and all major streamers.