Release Date: Apr 22, 2014
Record label: New West
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock
When we last checked in with the Whigs, a band from Athens, Georgia, that has since relocated to Nashville, the group had issued its fourth album, 2012’s Enjoy the Company, and there were two things that stuck in my mind upon hearing it. First, the horns. Second, the band’s tendency to rely on name-checking previous bands with song titles such as “Thank You” and “Staying Alive”.
The skull on the album cover -- all blacks and blues, looking like it should be illuminated via black light -- is a dead giveaway that the Whigs have shaken off the effervescence that characterized 2012's Enjoy the Company for 2014's Modern Creation. They've returned to loud guitars, but the touchstone isn't '90s alt rock, it's a fuzz-rich re-creation of the '70s -- a hazy, pot-soaked acid rock that suits that cheekily foreboding album artwork. The Whigs aren't Wolfmother, so they don't play it straight -- they dip into disco for "Hit Me" and can't quite let pop go, choosing to emphasize hooks on the title track instead of riffs -- but much of Modern Creation crests on waves of distortion, placing emphasis on the noise instead of the songs.
“I just want to run forever, and I want to rock and roll.” Those few words (from the album cut “Too Much In The Morning”) tell you most of what you need to know about Modern Creation, the fifth full-length from long-running trio The Whigs, recent transplants from Athens, Ga. to Nashville. Where their previous albums weren’t necessarily burdened by excessive production, Modern Creation dials back even further on the overdubs, reducing the group to its essentials.
The Nashville, by way of Athens, rockers have turned up the amps a bit and added a few affect pedals on Modern Creation, their fifth album. A little less pop-focused than their last effort, but catchy none the less, the record is 10 tracks of fuzzy guitars, driving drums and clear and focused vocals. There’s a strong shaggy-haired stoner vibe on songs like “The Particular” and “I Couldn’t Lie,” but it’s the straight-up rockers, like “Hit Me” that have the biggest impact here.