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The final words sung on the sixth album by WHY? are an apt place to begin: "Hold on, what's going on?" Because while there's much familiar about the oddly named Moh Lhean - mastermind Yoni Wolf's sour-sweet croon, his deadpan poet's drawl and ear for stunningly fluid psych-pop-folk-whatever arrangement - a great deal has changed in the four years that've passed since 2012's Mumps, Etc., an LP that honed the band's orchestral precision and self-deprecating swagger to a fine point.
It's significant that this is the first fully home-recorded WHY? album since the project's 2003 debut.
Made mostly in Wolf's studio and co-produced by his brother Josiah, the result is obsessive, of course, but also intimate, and flush with warmth and looseness.
But the biggest transformation is a bit subtler. After years of eying his world, in part, with a cynical squint, Wolf here learns a new mode.
While Moh Lhean never stoops to outright optimism, it chronicles our hero finding peace in the unknowing, trading the wry smirk for a holy shrug, and looking past corporeal pain for something more cosmic and, rest assured, equally weird.
|A1.||This Ole King|
|A4.||January February March|
|B1.||The Longing Is All|
|B4.||Consequence of Nonaction|
|B5.||The Barely Blur|
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