Today’s request is from a band called The Whims who have just released their self-titled debut album. It was released on 8 January (or if you live in America, January 8.)
I think for this post I’ll zip through the album and give you my first impressions…
The Whims – The Whims (2013)
1. “Over My Shoulder”
0:00-0:26 – “Doo-oo-oo-oo-oo, doo-oo-oo-oo-oo”. I like it. There’s something about that melody in this intro that makes me think this is a power pop version of “Here Comes The Sun“. Yep. I like it.
0:26-0:53 – The verse has started, and I’m not enjoying the lead singer’s voice all that much. I don’t think it’s horrible in any way, just not great. I am enjoying everything else about the verse, though. I think it’s reassuringly traditional, in a “traditional power pop” kind of way.
0:53-1:19 – The “Doo-oo-oo-oo-oo, doo-oo-oo-oo-oo” came back. Yay! However, I wasn’t all that keen on the guitar playing the G note in the background from 1:17-1:19. The song’s in E major, which means that any G you play has to be a G sharp. Sharp! Otherwise it’ll annoy a person living in South Australia called Peter.
1:19-2:12 – Unfortunately, I’m enjoying the lead singer’s voice less in this verse. He’s a bit flat in places – but at least there are some harmony vocals to help take my mind off the flatitude. There’s a little stop-start kind of thing at the end of this verse (2:09-2:12), and I like it. (“I know that. It’s over. It’s over. My shoulder.”)
2:12-2:39 – “Here comes the sun…” I liked the drum fill from 2:14-2:16. And the one from 2:37-2:39. He sure is a frisky drummer.
2:39-3:02 – A rudimentary guitar solo. But it’s melodic. Except for the note I didn’t like at 2:51.
3:02-3:13 – The guitarist finished his solo, and the band finishes the song by playing an E major chord and letting it fade. Unfortunately for me, the last note of the guitarist’s solo (at 3:02) was ever-so-slightly flat, and I really wanted him to tune it up just enough to be in tune.
Overall, I liked “Over My Shoulder”.
2. “Hard To Believe”
I like this. It’s nice ‘n’ glam.
Yep. This gets Peter’s Stamp Of Approval. (If there was one.)
3. “Pick Me Up”
Although I’m not enjoying this one as much as the first two songs, I’m not minding it at all.
It may just be me, but I’m bothered by the singer’s intonation. (It’s frequently a little flat.) I’m not bothered by the songs so far, ‘cos I like ’em, but I really wish the singer had recorded a few more takes, especially in this song.
It won’t stop me liking the songs, though.
4. “Losing The Plot”
“You can’t hurry love…“
I like this. The singer sounds more nasal in this song than he did earlier, but I don’t care. I like the song. It’s boppy.
0:49-0:53 – Nice vocal harmonies.
1:22-1:27 – When the guitarist was playing his solo, did he forget what key the song was in? Or was he imagining he was playing a solo in a heavy rock song?
1:57-2:01 – They really are nice, those vocal harmonies.
2:33-2:35 – Frisky Drummer Strikes Again.
5. “Fall Behind”
It seems that all albums that could be described (by me) as “traditional power pop” must include at least one song that contains the “Be My Baby” drum beat.
2:22-2:55 – I like the guitar solo. I think the playing is a bit sloppy in places, but I like the notes that were chosen.
A question for the producer: Was there an edit at 2:55.380? From what I hear, it sounds like a suspiciously clean transition from the solo to the chorus.
3:31-3:33 – Dig that stereo drum fill. Crazy, man, crazy!
I was going to say that I wasn’t terribly keen on the guitar sounds in this song (especially the one in the right channel), but the guitarist likes the sounds he likes, and it’s all a matter of personal taste, so I won’t mention it.
6. “Your Letter”
Either the action on the bass player’s bass is very low, or he’s hitting those strings pretty hard. Either way, I’m distracted by the sound of the pickups being hit frequently. (Click, click, click, click…)
I can’t talk, though, because when I was in a band I used to hit my bass strings really hard.
As for the song, I’m finding it enjoyable-ish. (It’s possibly my least favourite track on the album.) The lead vocals are still annoying me slightly. Unfortunately, in this song the lead singer has a touch of the Kevin Cronins, in that he’s over-emphasising the letter “r” in “letter”. Hearing someone sing “letterrrrrrr” tends to give me the heebies jeebies.
7. “Leave Your Name”
Who decided to ask a young Michael Stipe to sing guest vocals on this song?
8. “Rest Stop”
9. “Fault Lines”
I’m not entirely sure why, but when this one started I thought of The Cure. (It was probably the guitar chords in the introduction.) As this song progressed, I ended up liking it more than the previous two songs. No, make that the previous three songs.
10. “See Jane Run”
Hmm. I wouldn’t have mind the singing to be more secure. And I tired of that crash cymbal being hit constantly. Unfortunately, it was replaced by a hit-hat I thought was too loud. But I liked the song. Just not some elements of it. I would like to compliment the drummer on having a break from all that cymbal smashing, from 2:22-2:50. It was very welcome break. But at 2:50 he started bashing his cymbals again. Grrr. But it was only for another minute-and-a-quarter. Then my ears had a rest until the next song.
11. “These Days”
0:03-0:33 – Oh no. Those cymbals again. At least they’re a quieter in this song.
0:33-0:48 – I’ve never understood why I loathe that particular drum beat, but I loathe that particular drum beat.
Despite evidence to the contrary (see immediately above), I like this song.
1:33-2:02 – Mmm: jangly guitar. Unfortunately, someone decided to insert a swear word in amongst all that lovely jangliness (at 1:42, and again at 2:57). I’ve mentioned it in other posts on this blog, but I’m not a fan of swearing in songs. It’s a bugbear of mine. And a pet hate. Which would make it a pet bugbear.
4:03-4:30 – Given the way the song was played and recorded, this had a slight “early-U2” vibe about it. At this point in the song it goes into full-on U2 mode. Now I’m waiting for the next song.
12. “All Wound Up”
Back to some glam. I’m glad. (There’s only so much U2 I can tolerate.) Actually, the more I’m listening to this, the less I’m thinking “glam”. It’s more reminiscent of 70s rock. And I think it’s a fine way to end the album.
And I like the way the band finished the song. It was a nice surprise (that I won’t spoil for anyone who hasn’t heard it yet.)
OK. That’s what I thought of the album.
To the band: Thanks, guys, for letting me know about it.
And I think I might have another listen…