words by Eric Nyffeler | photo by Bridget McQuillan
WHY? appears in the unexpected and unpopulated intersection of a Venn diagram between '90s indie rock and hip-hop. On "Strawberries," a song slated for their upcoming LP, Mumps, Etc., WHY? plays like a band unsure of their place.
Keys and mallets swirl over a herky-jerky rhythm section, lurching and skipping about like a music box forced to play reggae. Yoni Wolf, the ever-ready confessor, seems burdened by his past, freely admitting, "I'm not OK, boys." He searches for meaning in the present, singing, "I don't wear rubbers and I don't wear sunscreen / I want to heat my hide and not hide under something," but comes up empty with another chorus of, "No, I'm not OK."
While Wolf waxes philosophic about ending his "rap career," the band finally locks into a beat, the two drummers rushing the band together into a powerful and unexpected crescendo. Wolf chooses not to share in this brief moment of resolution, instead ending the song with another quiet confession about his ghosts.
Performed at the Waiting Room in Omaha, Nebraska
Shot by Michael Todd, Bridget McQuillan & Chevy Anderson
Edited by Chevy Anderson
Eric Nyffeler is a Hear Nebraska contributor. Bringing up WHY? is the only way to get him to freely talk to new people. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.