Dumb Hummer / Pick Fights

by WHY?

The WHY? quartet is tireless. This autumn alone, their wonderful Sandollars EP and their triumphant Elephant Eyelash album have been released, they’ve toured ceaselessly from early September to late December, and they are far from done. This 7“ features new songs otherwise available only on the Rubber Traits EP.

The jangly gem “Dumb Hummer” is a wry take on military chic-camo gear and street-dwarfing Humvees--and essentially an essay on how one might live consciously in the overdeveloped West. When the music quiets to an acoustic line (the tasteful and distinctive work of guitarist Matt Meldon) and a tight percussive rhythm (the decidedly jazz-inflected touch of drummer Josiah Wolf), Yoni proposes his solution: a “dance without numbered footprints.”

The other two songs, “Pick Fights” and “Deceived,” are tidy, lyric-driven pieces that wrap Yoni’s cold wit and keen eye for the telling detail in effortlessly rapped vocals, showing yet again that he’s always been more Dylan Thomas than Dylan, even if precious few seem to notice. The sharp words and plainspoken tone of both songs are in a strange and mesmerizing dialogue with multi-instrumentalist Doug McDiarmid’s discreetly tender piano work; it strikes one as the kind of thing that only WHY? has the license to try, much less pull off so well.

* out of print, but the tracks can also be found on the WHY? - Rubber Traits release.