The Whigs- Mission Control (ATO)

Featured — By on February 4, 2008 at 6:43 pm

Athens, Georgia and the 1980’s seem inextricably linked in the minds of many rock fans. Athens is the boho/college town that birthed the B-52’s, R.E.M., and many other pleasant-but-not-so-ultimately-memorable jingle-jangle bands of the Reagan age (Guadalcanal Diary, anyone?). Sure, Athens hasn’t done much for rock music since, oh, 1988 or so, but it’s a charming cultural outpost in a state that many people still associate with peaches, The Klan, and The Dukes Of Hazzard. It also happens to be the hometown of The Whigs, who, with their crashing drum sound, bright electric guitars, and understated vocals, bring to mind the sounds of… well, no particular Athens band at all. In fact, the reference points that spring to mind upon listening to Mission Control, the band’s newly-released second album, are squarely located in the Boston area in the early 90’s. Sure, it could be just the fact that they’re a power trio, but something about Mission Control brings to mind Buffalo Tom or even Dinosaur Jr. (even though Whigs party leader Parker Gispert doesn’t sound much like Tom’s Bill Janovitz and even less like J Mascis). Overall, it’s a highly listenable rock record, yet manages to seem sort of faceless. “Right Hand On My Heart”, in particular, is a real gem- the best example of The Whigs’ band-out-of-time (and place) aesthetic. Over a “Bullet The Blue Sky” rhythm and frenetic drum fills, Gispert matter-of-factly promises that “we’ve got your money now we’ll make a new start.” Let us hope that maybe he is singing to the whole city of Athens and not just some simple prop to occupy his time.

RATING (1-10): 6

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