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Give 'Em All a Big Fat Lip

The Whigs

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Album Review

This 2005 indie release was scooped up and reissued by ATO a year later after Rolling Stone named the Athens, GA trio one of the "Ten Artists to Watch" in April of 2006. It's usually a good sign when a band creates a buzz without major-label money or influence, and that's the case with the Whigs (not to be confused with the Afghan Whigs). With a classy sound somewhere between catchy '60s pop, Gomez-styled bluesy indie rock, and a Southern sensibility, the Whigs' songs are snappy, tight, and free of excess fat. Their secret weapon is the interplay between keyboards and guitar; it's organic and far from slick. A bit of Elvis Costello circa "Pump It Up" drives "OK, Alright," and the raw, unsweetened quality of the music harkens back to punk's early days. Lead singer Parker Gispert's talk/sung vocals, with their natural rasp, are nonchalantly distinctive and grow more engaging as the project unwinds. Despite the rather aggressive title and cover art, there are more midtempo ballads than rockers, and the tone of the disc falls on the melancholy side. The sound is full without being slick. The Whigs prove that they are excellent producers of their own music and have a strong sense of dynamics as instruments enter and exit, staying just long enough for emphasis. Dueling vocals also weave around themselves on the lovely "Say Hello," and even though the lyrics seem to be stream of consciousness, they work well with the often unpredictable music that twists in unexpected but not unnatural directions. "Half a World Away" is a highlight as it features a lurching guitar solo set against a funeral organ and gently throbbing drums. The closing "All My Banks" is an artsy yet unpretentious minor-key piece which, at nearly seven minutes, is also the album's longest track. The horns that augment it expand the sound into new and fascinating directions that the group will hopefully explore more fully with a larger budget on their sophomore release.

Customer Reviews

Fantastic Debut from an underrated band

I was first introduced to this album in 2008 by a friend from Athens, GA. I couldn't stop listening to it. I was amazed at how many great songs were on it from start to finish. It reminded of the Strokes debut based on the quality of the songs and the sound in general. But, these guys definitely have their own sound. They sound like a mix between the Strokes and the Replacements. After hearing it I was surprised that they didn't receive the kind of praise that the Strokes did on their debut. The opener, "Nothing Is Easy" is one of the best openers for a rock album I've heard in a long time. It perfectly encapsulates the sort of laid-back fun mood of the rest of the album. There's a great mix of hard rockers (Technology, Can't Hear You Coming, Violet Furs, Ok Alright) mid-tempo rockers (Nothing Is Easy, Don't Talk Anymore, Say Hello) and slower ballads (Written Invitation, Half The World Away). The drummer is top-notch and was named one of the best new drummers around the time of this album's release. Parker Gispert (lead singer) writes great melodies and has a great voice for rock. He reminds me a bit of Paul Westerburg. But, he's got his own unique raspy voice. If you're looking for a place to start with these guys you can't go wrong with this album. This album is very highly recommended if you're at all into The Strokes, Replacements, The Black Keys, etc. Just buy it already!!

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...
Full Bio
Give 'Em All a Big Fat Lip, The Whigs
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