Moh Lhean

Joyful Noise

Mar 06, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

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Resignation isn't hinted at in the words sung here by WHY?'s Yoni Wolfone of indie's most under-celebrated lyricistsbut woven extensively throughout. In the five years since the band's last, Wolf suffered a near-death experience that is said to have informed the accepting outlook heard on Moh Lhean, in lyrics like "Always now/No before, after/Only this/There is no other," from lead single "This Ole King," or the chorus of "One Mississippi." ("I know I've got to submit to/Whatever it is in control.") At points, a wistful nostalgia creeps into the songs; none more so than in "The Water," in which Yoni reflects on a quiet boat trip with his brother (bandmate Josiah Wolf, who co-produced the album.) Without knowing the exact nature of his health scaresnippets of prognosis from his own doctors are sampled on "Proactive Evolution"it weighs heavily on this record. These are the words of a man who's recently come to terms with his own mortality.

That's not to say Moh Lhean is a depressing slogfar from it. The intricate composition we expect from a WHY? record is on grand display, saddling up with Wolf's characteristically droll delivery to spin catchy folk-pop-hip hop tracks out of such bleak subject matter. In spite of its morose nature, the imagery conjured by his words is gorgeous, poetic, and thought-provoking. For not being as sly or humorous as his past work, Moh Lhean recalls the confident one-two punch of Alopecia and Eskimo Snow, and is just as likely to impact the listeners who felt a special connection to his writing then, nearly a decade ago. (www.whywithaquestionmark.com

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