Oct 03, 2012 Issue #42 - The Protest Issue
Yoni Wolf and posse have returned, having picked up several flashy tricks in the half-decade since recording Alopecia and Eskimo Snow. Thanks to a bunch of swanky production-value-boosting additions-a string quartet, a choir, a horn section-Mumps, etc. sounds like a much bigger-budget album than its humble predecessors. Producer Graham Marsh (Cee-Lo Green, Katy Perry) gives WHY? an upbeat, pop vibe that's different than any of the band's previous work. Boiled down, Mumps, etc. is pretty slick.
Do these fancy new digs change the music, for better or worse? Nah. It's still all about Wolf's dry humor and smart lyrics, often self-deprecating and packed with colorful imagery. "Your mom, she sits while her hair is in curlers/smokes weed and listens to that Garrison Keillor," he raps over a tinkling glockenspiel in "Strawberries," being one of the few hip-hop artists who could get away with such a rhyme. Mumps, etc. misses out on the engrossing atmospheres the last two albums had, and its best track, "Sod in the Seed," is a holdover from the recent EP of the same name, but there's enough here to more than make up for their last few years of radio silence.
Author rating: 6.5/10
Average reader rating: 8/10