Crate-Digging: Whirr – Sway


(Graveface, 2014)

I think a band like Whirr probably gets a bum rap for playing the shoegaze game so seriously, or maybe coming off like they play the shoegaze game so seriously, or maybe being such dicks about being not serious about the game that they’re taken too seriously. I think Captain Ahab said it best, and I’m paraphrasing, when he said to hate the player and the game. But there were snakes involved, and planes, so it may just be lost on all of us. Do we hate Whirr? Do we pretend to hate Whirr but secretly love them? Do we love them so severely that we must hate all the other players and all the other games?

I bring this up (and there’s probably a point in there somewhere) because you can’t pretend when discussing Whirr that you haven’t seen their social media forays into lashing out at music writers (h/t to TMT for not making me work too hard). There’s a, shall we say, “disconnect” between the band and what others say about them, quantifying them in nice tidy packages and saying silly writerly things that mean little to readers and less to Whirr. Now, here I come with writey junk about Whirr, because on the internet everybody’s opinion matters, and mine most of all! OK, sorry, I didn’t mean it like that. But I’m pretty much taking my life in my own hands here, on that count. Who knows what they’ll call me. Sticks and stones, words, etc., right? No. Words hurt. They really, really hurt.

And all this funny business for a shoegaze band. Look, Sway is a good record. A really good record. I enjoy it immensely, and therefore you have your review. Stop here, go home – Whirr is shoegaze and Sway is good. It’s worth your money and your time. In fact, I’m going to embed “Mumble” right here from Graveface’s bandcamp page, because it embodies the onomatopoeic nouns presented by the band itself – it “whirrs” and “sways” and “mumbles” and does other beautiful things that suggest synesthesia, like “swirls” and “hums” and “floats.” Mmm, pretty.

But I think what’s probably missed is how Whirr, in an alternate universe, is essentially the Jay-Z of shoegaze. They’ve elevated the game, the one we all hate (and all its players, damn you all!). It’s only a matter of time before they buy a basketball team, sell the basketball team, and start repping athletes. Whirr is probably going to out-earn My Bloody Valentine’s entire career by the end of Q2 2015. There’s likely a marriage or two to pop starlets in there – probably Miley Cyrus. Maybe the Olson twins. Rihanna, Heck, why not Madonna? That would be cool. The universe is alternate, the possibilities are endless! And let’s not forget that Ryan Graveface is Suge Knight in this scenario. (Did Suge Knight ever work with Jay-Z? Never mind, doesn’t matter.)

Hm. Maybe this is the alternate universe after all. Was that a blimp? (Fringe reference!) Anyhoo, the inevitable Whirr backlash will begin when they partner with Apple to release their next album for free on everybody’s iTunes. Although you probably should’ve done that already with Sway. To that degree, I give your marketing effort a 6.9 out of 10. (See what I did there?)

I’m certainly having a hard time separating the rascals from the rock and roll. I think I’ll just be happy with anyone reading this coming away with the reaction that I have no idea what the fuck I’m talking about. But if you do suss out a clue or two upon reading this thingee, then you’re in good shape, and you’ll probably enjoy Sway on its own merits. Heck, you’re probably better off just doing that than going down my rabbit hole. I probably should transpose this warning to the top of the “review,” but then nobody would read it. (Not that they would anyway.)

RIYL: Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, DIIV


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