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Alopecia (Anticon)

Wednesday, Mar 5 2008

The press release for Alopecia claims that Why? ringleader Yoni Wolf was inspired "as much by MF Doom and Lil' Wayne as J. Newsom and Big Dylan." I don't hear any of that, although the disc recalls the beat weirdness of Beck's Mellow Gold, minus the zeitgeist-capturing spirit and clever allusions. "Jerking off in an art museum john until my dick hurts, the kind of shit I won't admit to my head shrinker," Wolf imparts on "Good Friday." Why tell us, then? That said, the CD boasts a monster leadoff track, "The Vowels Pt. 2," which creeps up on you like a beautiful woman in a dark alley and is perhaps the best tune ever from the Anticon camp. Beatwise, the album includes plenty of simple and often-danceable, winsome melodies. But lyrically, it's a crapshoot. "These Few Presidents" offers both truly touching moments — "And if you're in heaven waiting, you made it there fighting, the tightest kite string in a bad storm with lightning" — and clumsy, revolting jokes: "Even though I haven't seen you in years, yours is a funeral I'd fly to from anywhere." Like Sage Francis, Wolf is a talented musician full of ideas who badly needs to focus on expressing sincere, honest emotion.

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Ben Westhoff


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