Mar 20, 2020
The Whigs’ ‘Modern Creation’ Is Your New Favorite Power Pop Record
The Whigs’ fifth album, Modern Creation,might just as well sport the title Never Mind the Noughties, Here’s the Whigs. The opener, “You Should Be About to Feel It,” is a shambling, bitter sketch of the kind critics compare to early Kinks or late Replacements, but still sounds like half the tracks on the Whigs’ first outing.
That first album, their 2005 debut Give Em All a Big Fat Lip,gave the Athens garage rockers a wave of critical and audience respect. The newest is, if not stupendous, compulsively listenable and a sign these Whigs aren’t going the way of their political namesakes any time soon.
Time has filed the edges off frontman Parker Gispert’s boyishly snotty vocals and the trio’s earnest frontal assault has grown crafty and multi-pronged, but their cranky-tot brashness is fully intact. “Asking Strangers for Directions” is unusually direct and earnest, but “The Particular,” “Friday Night” and “Too Much in the Morning” flash by like the riff-heavy power pop hallucinations the bands’ fans know and love. Gispert’s delivery of the line “I just wanna run forever and I wanna rock ‘n’ roll” gives the game away.
The disco angularity of “Hit Me” is a stylistic wobble, but the tune eventually strays into Whigs’ signature mire of classic rock fuzz and distortion, as does the near-folky title track which fades out impressively with a dazzling, spidery guitar run from the canny Gispert. “The Difference Between One and Two” finishes off proceedings with surface passions cooled almost to Glenn Campbell levels but with enough compressed fury left for another half-dozen songs. From the first burst of paranoia to the last pull of the whammy bar, this record is a brilliant act of reinvention by the Whigs into a retro-Seventies version of itself. Sick, in every good way imaginable.