Review of In The Dark Album by The Whigs

The Whigs recently released their third long player 'In The Dark,' the follow up to 2005's 'Give 'Em All A Fat Lip and 2008's 'Mission Control.' Having formed in Georgia, USA in 2002 they have methodically grown in stature and appeal through constant touring with the likes of The Black Keys, BRMC and most recently in the UK with the Kings of Leon. The trio's growth is best illustrated by comparing their self-funded debut album, recorded with equipment bought on ebay with their support slot with KOL at Hyde Park last summer, that's a huge rise in 4 years.

The Whigs In The Dark Album

Influences are clear throughout 'In The Dark' and no more so than on track 2 then their affiliation with We Are Scientists. Having split a 7' release in 2009 with WAS, 'I Never Want To Go Home,' the feel of 'Black Lotus' is very much 'With Love & Squalor' as the effortlessly catchy chorus is backed up by Julian Dorio's intense drumming and verses written by someone either hopelessly in love or high as a kite, or a combination of the two. 'Birds and bees / Dancing in the breeze / There's a love in the air / Felt by all that care.'

Last track 'Naked' is like getting a massive apple crumble put on the table when you're still reeling from a full roast dinner. Happy days. The first minute and a half are instrumental, the speed of the kick drum steady against an array of guitar effects. Parker Gispert's whispered vocal contrasts the increasing intensity of the muffled beat before the guitars return and the built up tension of an emotional break up is released. This loop is repeated before the concluding chorus, 'It takes time / I think / To make it all the way / To make it all go away / I don't think I want my clothes back any more.'

'Someone's Daughter,' in contrast, comes out snarling like KOL's 'Crawl,' heavy riffs and a punishing beat dominate before Gispert spits 'They're coming out like hungry wolves into the night / To satisfy all your instinctual desire.' The chorus is pure modern-day KOL again with the punch-the air refrain:

I know what she wants from me / How could I forget that she is / Some-one's daugh-ter / I know what she wants from me / I just want to spend tonight with / Some-one's daughter

Gispert's voice rasps as he continues 'She got what she needs from me / I can't give her any more,' before launching into the Foo Fighters-like 'So Lonely' where he confesses 'She said she'd never leave me / So I said I'd never let her go.' It's pure rock 'n' roll, one girl to the next and to the next. Andy Gray is apparently a massive fan.

In-between, the pace of the album continues to rise and fall as 'Dying' and 'Automatic' provide the breathers before Timothy Deaux's bassline to 'I Am For Real' takes things back to The Whigs-happy place with a carefree toe-tapper complete with shimmering guitars and Beach Boys-esque harmonies. Add in new single 'So Lonely' and this LP starts to speak for itself.

This is an intelligent, wide-ranging album that will appeal to many without the band having to sell themselves short. Their previous LP opened with the lyric 'Like a vibration / my reputation is hanging around my neck,' but with a UK tour imminent alongside Dead Confederate, The Whigs won't need to worry about their reputation for much longer.


Alastair Thompson

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