Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Wighead - William & Edward Frontage EP on Triumphant Walrus and K-Sur Records
Evan included a handwritten note with his single mentioning Brian Wilson, Magic Kids and the Flaming Lips among others as influences for his project, Wighead...that's a hefty set of specific brands of idiosyncrasy...and I had to hear where this single was headed.
Weirdly enough it's related to Talibam! only with an organic, folk direction. Similarly bent of breaking the verse chorus verse cycle sticking to a quirky narrative about vintage characters.
The sleeve art even has that Neutral Milk Hotel aesthetic. A creepy portrait of twins that's just a little off. A romanticized olde time that has to be so warped by our inevitably wrong reinterpretation... it probably never even existed that way.
The medley of the A-Side suits their brand of pop-tales, avoid the typical song structure at all costs. I have to admit I'm not quite sure where the breaks are between tracks and it's working almost in a theatrical way, those miniature movements introducing a larger melodic structure, setting the stage for a conventional chorus of backing vocal ahhhhh's and wooooo's under the hand-claps. There's a vulnerable, childlike quality of Chris' vocals, which balances this super melodramatic, epic sound to the arrangements.
Chris at times even sounds a little like Ben Lee. It isn't ever perfect, a little naive, slightly twee even. Or like the Firey Furnaces they give the overwhelming sound and instrumentation a decidedly pop feel. It's all fantastic, fairy tale land. Not as terrifying as Br'er, or as consistently heart breaking as NMH, they live closer to Jens Lekman...that parable under the dense layered multi-instrumental compositions, A sort of They Might be Giants combined with the Decemberists.
The B-Side has the protagonist literally falling in love with a body....of water.
The amount of silence after that track, "Bad Idea" is almost criminal...at least a minute of vinyl record silence!? They definitely got me though when it came back in with that reprise of "Never Go Home" sung by a late night drunken choir. There's a lot of heart here and a great effort in bringing a new direction to this style. They do it in a really accessible way versus the inherent distance that usually happens with this intellectualized indie orchestra. They have a huge skill set that they are determined to put to use, but as much as it's insanely ambitious, they keep it down to earth in subject and execution...like The Unicorns, they're having fun after all.
On purple swirl vinyl with a printed insert of the two creepy guys staring at you again, following you around the room full of Victorian furniture around a huge fireplace...gold frames and a greyhound with a monocle is listening to Wighead on one of those old Victrola's with a megaphone attached to the needle.
Turns out Chris has laid Wighead to rest and set his sights on NYC, according to the Independent Cause in Tulsa.
You can get this from Insound or hear it for yourself at their bandcamp page.