Boomkat Product Review:
A great deal has changed in the four years that've passed since 2012's Mumps, Etc., an LP that honed Why?s orchestral precision and self-deprecating swagger to a fine point.
"It's significant that this is the first fully home-recorded WHY? album since the project's 2003 debut. Made mostly in Wolf's studio and co-produced by his brother Josiah, the result is obsessive, of course, but also intimate, and flush with warmth and looseness. But the biggest transformation is a bit subtler. After years of eying his world, in part, with a cynical squint, Wolf here learns a new mode. While Moh Lhean never stoops to outright optimism, it chronicles our hero finding peace in the unknowing, trading the wry smirk for a holy shrug, and looking past corporeal pain for something more cosmic and, rest assured, equally weird.
A low tone opens the album on “This Ole King” as acoustic pluck and upright bass form a Western bedrock beneath Wolf’s fragile voice. But as the song pushes on, the playing gets brighter and the vocal becomes a mantra-like hum inspired by Ali Farka Touré’s blues, before rolling into a second part rich with chiming keys and twisting harmony— Brian Wilson’s kaleidoscopic vision of pop. Moh Lhean’s gorgeously psychedelic closer, “The Barely Blur” with Son Lux, puzzles over the nature of existence.
But rather than leave us with the macabre chill of death, as many a WHY? LP has, the song dissolves into the infinite—the sound of the Big Bang. Tracks: This Ole King, Proactive Evolution, Easy, January February March, One Mississippi, The Longing Is All, George Washington, The Water, Consequence Of Nonaction, The Barely Blur."