Boomkat Product Review:
Once upon a time Why? Was the name assumed by Yoni Wolf when he was fraternising with his Anticon associates in groups like cLOUDDEAD, whose first album (strictly speaking a collection of 10"s) reset the parameters of abstract hip hop back in 2001. Of course, in recent years Why? has become a three-piece band, featuring Wolf, his brother Josiah and Doug McDiarmid, but Alopecia finds further expansion on the cards, with new recruits in the shape of Fog's Adam Broder and Mark Erickson joining the fold. Alopecia is set to cause an even bigger stir amongst the indie rock crowd than its predecessor Elephant Eyelash: it harbours an abundance of memorable songs, but more than that, it's witty, weird and confusing in all the ways the best of Wolf's output has been to date, with something like 'Fatalist Palmistry' ("I sleep on my back/'cause it's good for the spine, and coffin rehearsal.") sounding like a cross between Fleetwood Mac, Pavement and The Byrds without coming across as contrived or overwrought. Similarly successful, 'Simeon's Dilemma' holds down a blissful, poppy integrity with a repetitive glockenspiel figure Steve Reich would be happy about, whilst spouting lyrics that are actually worth listening to. Next to these potential indie rock hits you get harder hitting rap tracks like 'Good Friday' reminding you where Wolf started out, and just how far the scope of his music has come. Alopecia might only be three-quarters of an hour in length but it's an album that's densely packed with sprawling invention and good ideas - not something to be fully digested on first listen, but definitely an album you'll find yourself returning to on a regular basis.