Charming posthumous ‘best of’ collection from Leeds indie poppers The Whatevers. Read Maren McGlashan’s reaction below.
After recently calling it quits, The Whatevers posted a 16-track “Best of” compilation on their Bandcamp page. The aptly named “Lo-Fi Infidelity – The Best of the Whatevers” is not a squeaky-clean record by any means.
The recording techniques are not premiere, and the melodies offer plenty of imperfection. These ultra lo-fi tendencies are reflected in vocal cracks, dissonance and the seemingly lenient mixing technique (not to mention, the disc title). That being said, Lo-Fi Infidelity is charming, unrefined and honest. Echoing the core principles of bedroom recording culture, The Whatevers proudly wear imperfection on their sleeve.
Admittedly, the recording quality, at times, dwindles the disc’s punch. In those specific cases (as with the tracks “Having Sex and Taking Drugs” and “You And Your Twisted Romance”), I lust for something more powerful, thorough – and frankly, cleaner – as a listener. However, the album also offers plentiful indie-pop splendor. “Rhapsody In Blue Jeans” is one of the record’s finer mixes, balancing the lead vocals with a swirling backdrop of melody well, and “Violence for Northern Independence” is a sweet-but-dark song that features jangling guitars and a fine vocal performance. Aside from having a charming air about them, these songs suggest The Whatevers were a captivating live band. Their raw energy, surely, is best suited for a concert environment.
In the wake of their recent disbanding, The Whatevers’ bandcamp page contains a write-up by Paul Forester, who suggested that we “rewind and not re-record the sweet and beautifully honest yet jarringly frank sound and ethos The Whatevers carried with them.” By taking the focus away from the recording quality and onto the material itself, his statement puts their entire sound into perspective. The raw power of the album is both humble and natural, and the lack of aesthetic obsession makes “Lo-Fi Infidelity” subtly engaging. In an era when so many bands strive for the DIY sound, The Whatevers give the impression that, for them, it was second nature. And although not perfect, “Lo-Fi Infidelity” is a tough, relevant and honest record, wrapped in the packaging of sometimes-sweet-sometimes-sour melodies and dissonant vocal relationship between two lead-singers.
You can buy the album here.