Release Date: Jul 25, 2006
Record label: Merge
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Matt Suggs has been in the indie rock game for a long time. Starting with Butterglory in the mid-'90s, then moving on with a couple of fine, understated solo albums in the early 2000s, he has turned out nothing but high-quality product. His new group, White Whale, continues the run of excellent releases. Teaming with ex-Get Up Kid Robert Pope and three members of the Higher Burning Fire (John Anderson, Zack Holland, Dustin Than Kinsey), Suggs leaves understatement behind on WWI.
White Whale is as straightforward as they come. Or perhaps not. The band's debut, WWI, is the proggiest thing to come out of Kansas since, I suppose, Kansas, but it's balanced by a bracing intellectualism. It's a slightly confusing listen, but the result isn't necessarily confused. WWI's inception ….
There's a wild hair of weirdness running right through White Whale's first album, rupturing what might be relatively accessible indie guitar rock with bizarre images, sudden shouts and a sort of rock-opera narrative with a mysterious Admiral at the center. Consider how the album starts. Against a driving, hail-on-windshield sort of beat, couched in reverberating masses of guitar drama, Matt Suggs ventures his first two lines of lyrics.