By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
The press release for Alopecia claims that Why? ringleader Yoni Wolf was inspired "as much by MF Doom and Lil' Wayne as J. Newsom and Big Dylan." I don't hear any of that, although the disc recalls the beat weirdness of Beck's Mellow Gold, minus the zeitgeist-capturing spirit and clever allusions. "Jerking off in an art museum john until my dick hurts, the kind of shit I won't admit to my head shrinker," Wolf imparts on "Good Friday." Huh? Why tell us, then?
That said, the CD boasts a monster leadoff track, "The Vowels Pt. 2," which creeps up on you like a beautiful woman in a dark alley and is perhaps the best tune ever from the Anticon camp. Beatwise, the album includes plenty of simple and often-danceable, winsome melodies. But lyrically, it's a crapshoot. "These Few Presidents" offers both truly touching moments ("And if you're in heaven waiting, you made it there fighting, the tightest kite string in a bad storm with lightning") and clumsy, revolting jokes ("Even though I haven't seen you in years, yours is a funeral I'd fly to from anywhere"). Like Sage Francis, Wolf is a talented musician full of ideas who badly needs to focus on expressing sincere, honest emotion.
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