Review: Why?’s Sod in the Seed EP

Why?: Sod in the Seed EPWhy?: Sod in the Seed (Anticon, 8/14/12)

“Sod in the Seed”

Why?: “Sod in the Seed”

With the forthcoming Mumps, Etc. LP promising another new direction for indie-hop group Why? — this time with expanded orchestration — its Sod in the Seed EP comes to whet its fans’ appetites. And though its material is nearly all exclusive to the EP (only the title track is a repeat), at six songs and 17 minutes, it’s short and distinct.

Why?’s last two full-lengths, though recorded in the same sessions, were two markedly different albums, with the latter, Eskimo Snow, a much more organic, pop-oriented album compared to the quirky “alternative hip hop” on Alopecia. Sod in the Seed seems to split the difference, with the first and last tracks acting as rhyme-based bookends for nuggets of pop in between.

The title track features front-man Yoni Wolf laying down more off-kilter raps and complex wordplay with his trademark nasal, over-enunciated delivery. It holds plenty of the unrestrained lyrics that we’ve come to expect, dropping dirty-diary-esque tongue-twisters about the ways of the world, such as “One must pay the frat fee to enjoy the fat-free snacks, strippers, roofies, and six-packs / and groupies with big breasts, sending out mass texts, asking who’s next to get his lance waxed in the wickedest sex acts.”

The middle four tracks are short doses of unconventional pop for grownups, with Wolf sticking to singing and the rock elements decidedly absent. Drum sets are eschewed for various percussive instruments, and plugged-in guitars traded for synths and acoustic strumming.  “Twenty Seven” provides a wind-up-toy tempo, which trots along merrily, and the last track, “Shag Carpet,” offers one of the album’s best moments with its harmonized vocal-chant intro. It’s these twists and turns that always make Why? exciting — and keep us anticipated for Mumps.

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