Ithaca, New York
Since 2008, why+the+wires has been chiseling away at the heavily wooded, ice-hardened heart of Ithaca, New York. Their sound is an unruly mix of post-rock dynamics and sheer punk frenzy that incorporates saxophone and accordion alongside the standard guitar-bass-drums masonry. The songs are tight-wound, angular affairs, moody yet melodic. Rough-throated gospels, shambling shout-alongs, insistent rave-ups and brooding instrumental stretches. Influences are best pinpointed by geographical region: San Diego, Chicago, Washington, D.C. Comparisons have ranged from Hot Snakes and Sweep the Leg Johnny to Archers of Loaf and June of 44. The median age of the band members is 37. The average height, about six foot.
The five original members of why+the+wires came together in 2008. Their first album was 2009’s self-released Lost Lighthouses, a somber drone-drenched introduction that was enlivened with multi-instrumental flourishes (violin, accordion, saxophone, secondary percussion) and a rambunctious spirit. By 2011’s Telegraph Flats (Angry Mom Records) the volume was increasing and the song structures had splintered. All These Dead Astronauts, released on Rorschach Records in 2012, shed the violin altogether as the group pared down to a four-piece and original bassist Tito Butler was replaced by Pat Lonergan. The band ramped up the intensity while also adding a dose of mathy intricacy.
Their new release, Flame Failures, reins in that mathy meandering, clenches the muscles, and sharpens the teeth. It was recorded and mixed slowly, sometimes painfully, over a two-year haul at the Business District in Johnson City, NY, by Hunter Davidsohn (Sirs, Frankie Cosmos, Porches, Rivergazer). It is the band’s most ear-blasted, urgent album yet. The songs are set in dank basements, abandoned movie theaters and quarantine tents. They are populated by the walking wounded: epileptic kleptomaniacs, anxious citizens, noise addicts serenaded by radio static. It is a soundtrack for those who have been ravaged by reality, depressed by history, the beaten but not quite broken; those of us who have not surrendered yet.
Since recording Flame Failures the band has expanded back to a five-piece, with Lonergan moving over to second guitar and longtime pal José Beduya assuming bass duties.
José Beduya - Bass
Patrick Lonergan - Guitar
Chris Romeis - Drums
Dave Nutt - Vocals, Guitar
Kevin Dossinger - Accordion, Sax, Percussion