WHY? - Moh Lhean 12"
The final words sung on the sixth album by WHY? are an apt place to begin: "Hold on, what''s going on?" Because while there''s much familiar about the oddly named Moh Lhean - mastermind Yoni Wolf''s sour-sweet croon, his deadpan poet''s drawl and ear for stunningly fluid psych-pop-folk-whatever arrangement - a great deal has changed in the four years that''ve passed since 2012''s Mumps, Etc., an LP that honed the band''s orchestral precision and self-deprecating swagger to a fine point. It''s significant that this is the first fully home-recorded WHY? album since the project''s 2003 debut. Made mostly in Wolf''s studio and co-produced by his brother Josiah, the result is obsessive, of course, but also intimate, and flush with warmth and looseness. But the biggest transformation is a bit subtler. After years of eying his world, in part, with a cynical squint, Wolf here learns a new mode. While Moh Lhean never stoops to outright optimism, it chronicles our hero finding peace in the unknowing, trading the wry smirk for a holy shrug, and looking past corporeal pain for something more cosmic and, rest assured, equally weird.