Whatfor - "I Want a Girl"

And it's girls, or that particular girl "whose only dream is to live and breath" for Michael Sienkowski, that the kooky kid behind Whatfor's maudlin dream-pop is in constant search of. Sooner Late than Never is a cyanide daisy-chain swooning and soaring full of piano led chamber music. They've got quite a scene going on in Madison, WI -- maybe you've read about it here before, but Whatfor is simply the best vintage in their wine cellar. Something tells me this crew's membership has more than one sommelier, as the velvety craft they put into their albums (see Pale Young Gentlemen) hint at aged sophistication.

But they all look young, it's the beards that throw me off, and the hours they put into the mis-en-scene of their album art and band photos suggest the tip of naivety. Not by any stretch does that mean some of the pics included in the package aren't downright beautiful, they just don't mesh well with the fanciful escapades found here. Sienkowski exhibits a remorseful misogyny (notice the juxtaposition) throughout (and especially in this song), without exactly hunting his prey. Instead he's crooning into the blood purple Wisconsin darkness (much like a hetero Rufus Wainwright on the prowl) with a competent band behind him well versed in Kinks, Beatles, and surviving soul-draining winters. He seems satisfied with the echoes. This debut is rife with the raucous but rooted in more sublime territory. In a time when I'm longing for the E6 model of color-rich psych to counter the black and white lo-fi and gutter punk, this will suffice nicely. Please keep me on the mind when the next egg hatches.

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