The Whip | X Marks Destination (Razor & Tie)

cd_whip.jpgThe hallmarks of that earlier era are lovingly captured in ten sharp, techno-blessed songs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a small but dedicated group that has waited patiently for years for another New Order. Well, OK, I sat around waiting for another New Order. It is lovely that they are still around, but they now produce music that is a product as opposed to an expression. In their heyday, New Order was the only band that could move me to the dance floor and leave me hanging on a note, a beat or a lyric. And that attitude: utter remorse that sometimes erupted into a slight chuckle. That was life cut into vinyl.

In 2008, I shoved myself into what was called the British Embassy at South by Southwest in Austin. The draw was the Wombats and the room was packed wall to wall, but this band came on prior. The Whip was a four-piece that played with intensity and was guided in that beat by a seemingly deranged woman in shorts and a tank…seemingly oblivious to the oppressive heat of the room, and lost entirely in the music. Suddenly I was back 20 years and nothing mattered but getting the performance etched on my brain and into my camera. Sets at SXSW are a brief 25 to 30 minutes, and The Whip had me from the opening notes: short, rat-a-tat songs that seemed crafted to deliver messages that were unmistakable.

This week, X Marks Destination, their debut, arrived and sat on my desk for about four days. Would it live up to that performance? Had I built it up in my head? Could they deliver on a disc what that crowded club had offered? I finally put it in, and I am not let down. The hallmarks of that earlier band—hell, of that earlier era—are lovingly captured in ten sharp, techno-blessed songs (and four sweet remixes). Sexy and brooding, the band recaptures that beat and lobs some extra aggression (a little Strokes, a touch of Afghan Whigs) to sharpen the mix. The band is by no means a repeat of any one sound; they are the progeny of the last 20 years…and damn good offspring they are. The opening track and single, "Trash," pretty much sums up the band’s aggressive sound. The album moves from song to song in express mode, only moderating to make room for infatuation, as on "Sirens" with its jangling joy. For most of the disc, The Whip takes us along on a techno-dance vacation that sparkles and shimmies. We can barely catch our breath.

One note about the album: It does tend to be a bit repetitive with lyrics. I know, these are dance-floor spins and are meant to be almost movement meditations, so I am willing to leave them be and just let my own nearly dormant sense of groove have a go. But just in case you are expecting poetry, you will have to settle for musical gyrations—brilliant musical gyrations. A | Jim Dunn

RIYL: New Order, Afghan Whigs

About Jim Dunn 126 Articles
Jim Dunn grew up in NY in the 70s and 80s. Even though that time in music really shapes his appreciation it does not define it. Music, like his beloved history is a long intermingled path that grows, builds and steals from its past. He lives in Colorado with his lovely wife and a wild bunch of animals.

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