The Whigs: In The Dark in a Roundup of Record Reviews

Gone are the college-era days of the The Whigs raucous live shows and raw sound. Instead you'll find a timid homage to one of America's biggest sell-outs. Still, The Whigs press on, and In The Dark will stand as an extension of their garage/grunge sound, even if that same sound is taking a slight detour into arena rock territory.

Here's what the critics are saying...

Pitchfork: "The band claims their arena tour with Kings of Leon strongly influenced Dark, and it's hard to argue on the evidence. The songs are uniformly brawny, loud, and cheaply anthemic without much variation, let alone personality. "Someone's Daughter", with its plodding jackhammer drums, could even pass for a distant cousin to "Crawl", with Gispert creepily wailing, "How could I forget that she is someone's daughter?" The Whigs have also abandoned the breezy Southern charms that characterized their early music for the geographically non-specific, leaving only vague, empty signifiers-- a hint of drawl here ("I Am For Real"), a fleeting twang there (the opening bar to "Kill Me Carolyne"). Because of this generic approach, the Whigs' rare attempts to inject some character sound even more incongruous, such as the pealing feedback that crashes the title track's bloodless alt-rock."

A.V. Club: "The album's best moments, unsurprisingly, are those in which the band lays off the mixing knobs. The pounding "Someone's Daughter" is a raspy, snarling glut of reverb and bass, while the closing "Naked," at more than six minutes long, soars with the anthemic energy of a classic-rock hit by being totally unconcerned with radio compatibility. In The Dark could very well end up successful. It's just a shame The Whigs had to try so hard for that success."

Rolling Stone: "The band's third disc is the sharpest distillation of its neo-college rock yet, with Animal Collective producer Ben H. Allen's arty, wall-of-sound approach brightening singer-guitarist Parker Gispert's underdog anthems while rarely slowing them down. "I Am for Real" sets echo-chamber guitar grind to a disco throb; "Someone's Daughter" is a riff-monster stomp worthy of Billy Squier; and "I Don't Even Care About the One I Love" suggests the Whigs have got a great record of R.E.M. answer-songs in them, if the local bars ever stop producing hardhearted girls to shout about."

Spin: "After excelling at smart, scrappy rock in the vein of a down-home Replacements, the Whigs unfortunately have shifted course. Their third album sports a more generic, arena-friendly sound, as if displaying too much personality was a liability. Burdened with clattering drums and annoying echo, "Black Lotus" and "Naked" evoke duller artists, but "Auto-matic," a fine broken-hearted anthem, and the itchy "Kill Me Carolyne" strike a better balance between calculated packaging and memorable content, suggesting their bout of poor judgment could be short-lived."

In The Dark is out now via ATO.

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