Release DetailsLABEL Year Of The Sun
RELEASED ON 5/8/2007
What's He Building In There?
posted on 7/2007 By:
Canadian five-piece What’s He Building in There? – named after a Tom Waits song – would fit in well on The End. That’s what makes scoring this album so difficult. Because The End recently released quality avant-garde from Estradasphere, Giant Squid, Sigh, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Stolen Babies, Unexpect, et cetera, WHBiT have a lot to live up to with their debut, and that’s excluding experimental records of yore. Admittedly, however, Self-Titled succeeds on many levels, but not enough to recommend it over similar items.
Nevertheless, these guys pack a punch. While there’s a general metalcore feel to most of the material, there’s also a copious amount of clean singing and exquisite growling. Hal and Chris share vocal duties, and both are undeniably talented in their respective styles. Oftentimes, WHBiT will insert various instruments and/or effects here and there – dazzling keyboards in “Black Scythe Affair,” brass in “Citizen of the City,” war soundclips in “A Walk on the Beach,” and more – to mostly positive results. Self-Titled simply oozes verve.
But, like many albums in this vein, the songs are tough to recall once they run their course. There’s also more singing here than on a typical episode of American Idol, which may irk those who would prefer to bask in the exceptional musicianship without constant vocal interruptions. One need look no further than the beginning of “I, Xolotl” for the instrumental capabilities of What’s He Building in There?, and, contrary to other tracks, it’s actually memorable. “Monkey Knife Fight” is another strong showing.
This is a solid debut, on all fronts, that puts the year old WHBiT on the map. The quintet may not be the most inventive troupe ever conceived, but their eccentric nature does work in their favor. Still, I wanted to like this more than I did.
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