Written by: TL on 23/08/2013 19:04:07

If anybody wants to know where I am, I'll be sitting over in a corner wearing a "dunce" hat. Seeing a band called What,Really? (missing space apparently a stylistical choice) with a four track debut EP containing a song titled "Ninja Expert", anybody should be able to recognise that here's likely some ill-conceived product of immaturity. I however - the reliable master of over-analysis - was sure that Bologna-based (that's in Italy) trio were just being cheeky and/or clever, so of course I signed up to review this self-titled first effort of theirs.

Hence my considering myself fooled, because so far, What,Really? appears a band about which the best thing you can say is that they've been modest with their ambitions. The four tracks offered on their debut are solidly executed, yet so non-descript in their neutral positioning somewhere between indie, pop and rock, that any minor resemblances encountered along the way, to bands like The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Hives or The Get Up Kids, seem pretty much coincidental.

I mean how much can you really expect me to get out of four mid-to-up tempo, fuzzy-guitar-driven low-fi pop songs of around three minutes each, "highlighted" by the sort of lackadaisycal, Jesus And Mary Chain-ish vocals whose closest resemblance to enthusiasm comes in form of some simple, predictably applied harmonies? It's not that I don't get it. I know, Yuck have made quite a name for themselves with a similar approach, and What,Really? sounds like a band with a similar desire to make trying hard to not try hard their bread and butter moving forward. In fact I would not be surprised one bit if these lads didn't already make it a point to look all awkward and quirky on stage.

Okay so I'm sounding harsher than I mean to, because the fact is that the only thing that's really wrong with "What,Really?" is that it's trivial. It's solidly composed and recorded for a DIY release, and things are in time and in tune and so on, it just gets me frustrated that it so clearly hasn't evolved to a level where either the instrumentals, vocals or lyrics really seem to want to communicate anything of novelty. Taking this "rebellious" approach means all there is to lean on is quirky catchiness (a restriction that has caused inconsistency even for Yuck) and in all honesty, What,Really don't have much of that going here either.

So then: I'm going to go ahead and hope that the shortcomings that ultimately characterise this release, are merely consequences of it being an effort that is very early, and strictly speaking too early. This sounds like the kind of recording the band should listen to after having finished it, slapping each other heartily on the backs and exclaiming: "Dudes! We did it! We don't sound bad!", yet when reflected upon for a few days it should also prompt the collective realisation of "Well, we hardly sound very exciting either.. Maybe we should find a way to build that on top of this, BEFORE we go and release anything for the public, and more importantly, for reviewers".


Download: Ninja Expert
For The Fans Of: Yuck, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Hives, The Get Up Kids,
Listen: facebook.com/whareal

Release Date 21.02.2013

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