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Mission Control

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Album Review

Perhaps it isn't intentional that the Whigs' name is a truncation of the Afghan Whigs — this quartet doesn't sound much like the arty soul-rock of Greg Dulli's Cincinnati outfit — but it's surely deliberate that this trio recalls alt-rock's heyday of 1993 on their second album, Mission Control. Not that Mission Control would have held its own with Gentlemen or Saturation if it showed up in 1993, but this tight, 11-track collection niftily clocking in at under 40 minutes, has the sound and feel of the bottom of 120 Minutes' Buzz Bin (not to mention the look: those defaced '70s snapshots are uncannily reminiscent of the '90s). The Whigs are vaguely rootless, sounding like any number of '90s alt-rock favorites — those rolling, octave-jumping guitars could be compared to Pavement, those growling guitars could be compared to Guided by Voices, those harmonies and hooks may be lifted from the Foo Fighters, their po-faced lack of pretension either recalls the Replacements or, if you're less charitable, Better Than Ezra — without sounding like anyone in particular. Which doesn't mean that they have a unique identity; rather, they play like an alt-rock revue, hitting all the highlights but not channeling it into a distinctive sound. They have enough clatter and commotion to keep Mission Control moving at a brisk pace, but they could use some extra oomph — Parker Gispert's voice fades beneath his guitars, giving this a strange listlessness — and they would really benefit from hooks that were finally honed instead of riffs and vocals that seem to circle around the melody instead of confronting them straight on.

Customer Reviews

Great album

Highly recommend

Biography

Formed: Athens, GA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Frontman Parker Gispert, drummer Julian Dorio, and bassist Hank Sullivant formed the Whigs in 2002, while the three Athens-based musicians were attending college at the University of Georgia. With a jaunty mix of Westerberg-like swagger, alt-rock songwriting, and a heartfelt country disposition, the Whigs played their first shows around campus and soon graduated to higher-profile performances, including opening slots for the likes of the Killers, Franz Ferdinand, and the Futureheads. Recording sessions...
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Mission Control, The Whigs
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