Whoop’s All-New Album “Just What?"

Profound sonic notes cascade from a guitar before a swarthy and powerful melody comes crashing down on us as “Time Machine” comes into focus. There’s tension in the air, a hint of melancholy skewed by a flickering flame of optimism, and it’s all contained within the elegant harmony taking shape before our very ears.

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A lush lead vocal enters view, only to be joined by a playful percussive pattern in the background. Suddenly we’re off and running with a feverish rhythm that is par for the course in this, Whoop’s all-new album, Just What?. “Time Machine” is one of the more monolithic tracks in this stunner from the noted indie rock syndicate, but it’s not the only instance of purely enthralling musicality in action here.

The groover “Nothing Changes” launches into its throttling foundation while avoiding the pitfalls of an excessive piece all too deftly. The guitars take a backseat to the velvety-soft serenade pinning all of the instrumental warrings together in a singular, melodic tour de force, and as we continue to look through this tracklist, it becomes quite evident that Whoop are using songs like this to introduce us to their emerging, and some would even be so bold as to say vastly-improved, experimental sound. 

In “Cherry Cola,” a boisterous bottom is carefully straddled by a patient volley between the tempo and the razor-sharp guitar parts. This track, along with the fluttering title track and “Exploitation,” are not as beefy in tone as the others on Just What? tend to be, but their understated attributes lend some diversity to the record that, at least from where I sit, makes it the cinematic treat that it is. There’s never an occasion on which we catch Whoop recycling the same formula in two different spots on this album; in fact, quite the contrary.

My initial listening session with Just What? was rousing, but further analysis led to my breaking down the lyrics and music as two independent entities. In many cases, the instruments are telling us a different story than the words are – take “The Way” for example. We’ve got this meandering beat, a lot of textured elements in the back of the mix, by contrast, a lighthearted vocal, and then this lyrical nucleus that is uncompromisingly brutal and self-critical on the part of our singer. It’s very postmodern stuff, but not so intellectual that it would repel the occasional pop consumer. 

SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/track/7yCgfTbJCVXAaz9GEv1qI5

“Rise Up” opens Just What? on a high note, dishing out some glittery melodic parts that fit in well with anything currently topping the charts, sans the artificiality, of course, and while it’s not as intense a number as “The Way” or “Time Machine” is, it adheres to a traditional tone and subsequently delivers an easy-listening product of strong pop hooks and mild lyrical lashings. I had some pretty high expectations coming into this review, but I must say that Whoop blew me away with what they created in this incredible album. Just What? is a homerun for these indie rockers, and a great acquirement for music enthusiasts everywhere this spring. 

Anne Hollister

Anne Hollister

We do music reviews for Independent Artists and Publicists.

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