Big strides across the dancefloor aside, there’s a tightness to the arrangement of the beats in “What I Want” that suggests Whoop has no interest in getting us grooving this autumn – they just want to start fires at our feet. There’s a restlessness to the construction of this track, “Cool,” and several others you’re going to encounter inside of the intriguing new self-titled record from Whoop, and whether you’re prepared for the exotic, often eccentric notions that this album is comprised of or not, Whoop is serving the unsophisticated alternative rock pulse that we need to feel normal once more in 2021. Some might call it a bit to the left of mainstream pillars, but to me, that’s what makes this LP so hard to put down.
“Smile,” “Feel Good” and “Care” pit vocals against blistering basslines that could overpower the guitars without the buffering of the mix, but I can appreciate the overwhelmed swell that Whoop were trying to create here. There’s nothing quite like a pressurized harmony amidst the calm of a consistent pop beat, and in this record we get more juxtaposition of the silent and the super-rebellious than we have in any other LP I’ve listened to in a long time now. Contrast can be such a centerpiece in this kind of music, and I’m inclined to think of the great alternative crossover players who came before this band when listening to their tenacious fusion of styles and aesthetics everywhere from “Demons” to “What I Want.”
“Care” and “Jump” have stacked instrumental profiles, but at no point do the vocals they contain sound forced to the edge of the mix. Instead, I think that Whoop are showing us that they’ve got the bases covered when it matters, and if they can bring the same kind of heat they do to the studio here onto the stage with them for a future tour, I haven’t any doubts as to whether or not songs like “Cool,” “Care,” “Feel Good” and “Nash Park” would connect with the audience right out of the gate. There’s something about the energy in this LP that makes me convinced it would sound even better in person than it does here, and with any luck I’ll find out for sure soon.
Whoop are new faces to me, but based on what they’re putting out in this relative introduction to who they are, I think we’re going to be hearing more from them before long. They’ve got a familiarity with each other that is amazing, and if it extends itself from lyrics to instrumentation as smoothly as it does at this stage in the band’s time together, you really have to wonder just how impeccable it’s going to be after they reach veteran status in the game. They’re on the right start with this self-titled record, and as long as they avoid the temptation to go freeform or create throwbacks to the old school, as so many of their peers would, I think they’re going to be more than okay.
by Christian Gardenhire