The latest record by the Georgian band The Whigs, “In the Dark,” comes as a big release to follow a tour with breakthrough festival band, Kings of Leon. Coming from an area of the country that has produced so many amazing southern rock groups, The Whigs don’t exactly measure up to par in this reach and miss of an album. While filled with catchy riffs and choruses that try to grab souls and encourage sing-a-long anthems like the hits of Kings of Leon and The Killers, “In the Dark” instead seems to embody that “try the next song” feeling. Like these other bands, The Whigs take the most obvious musical elements, like effortless lyrics about love or sex and a charismatic lead vocal, and apply them to every song.
However, with this third anticipated release, The Whigs are no newcomers. Lead singer Parker Gispert brings raspy heart-felt vocals to every song, even though most songs are about how he is currently out of love. The instruments are all played surprisingly well by this trio, and you can tell that they are long comfortable with each other and the direction that they want their sound to take.
Like their tour mates and certainly career idols, the lyrics from The Whigs don’t exactly reach another level of thinking, but definitely encourage the crowd to dance and sing along. “I Am For Real,” easily the best track on the album, brings the vibe of the album to The Whigs favorite high velocity guitar sound. While boasting the best sound and beat of the album, this track still falls short lyrically, sounding at first like gangster-rap, and then moving into plain stupid with the lyrics “I don’t need to kill anyone to let them know I’m for real/ I don’t need to be in your backyard to let you know where I stand.”
With similarly dismissible words, the title song of the album “In the Dark” takes a common English turn-of-phrase band tries to use it as an original hook. The well-played instruments and catchy beat render the song infectious nonetheless.
“Someone’s Daughter,” which directly reflects the Kings of Leon song “Use Somebody,” is sure to be a sing-a-long. This song also takes the amp up even higher than the dirty guitar sounds heard in the tracks before it, and is sure to be a good stadium song. Like many Kings of Leon songs, this track definitely could have used some background singing, which always helps to bring out the crowd.
One of longest tracks on the album, “Dying” takes listeners back to the psychadelic and mellowed out rock sounds of the ‘60s, calling on bands like “Yes” and “Pink Floyd.” This is the first song on the album that uses only two lines of lyrics, repeated in warped vocals over and over again, entrancing the listener.
Another listenable track is “Naked,” if you ignore the trying-too-hard lyrics and focus solely on the bass-intense and genuinely good sound. Unlike the song “So Lonely,” where the band takes their confidence to an obnoxious level, boasting about how much this girl loves them and they could care less, “Naked” seems to be one of the only tracks where they can identify with the emotions of another person, saying “how it hits her that she’s not tied/ and when it hits her she is untied.”
The most catchy and upbeat track on the album, “Automatic,” is most likely to be the next release. Using less heavy guitar and drums than the rest of the album, and bringing just the right amount of oo’s and aahh’s in the background, “Automatic” is a perfect recipe for a pop-rock hit. This song is also one of the first off the album to promote a positive, yet still amateur, message, saying “if you don’t need me around/you gotta let me go/somewhere I feel free/ just being myself.”
This band definitely has a professional and long-tuned accuracy and perfection to their musical abilities that is hard to find in most emerging bands. The confidence they are trying to show is apparent, but the one-sided lyricism and lack of emotional depth takes a step away from listeners, instead of into their hearts, and certainly not their memories.
Hailey Brooks can be reached at email@example.com.