hirlwind Heat is a bad band. Don’t get me wrong, that’s more of a compliment than anything else I could write about them. When I first heard their debut, 2003’s Do Rabbits Wonder? I was convinced they were a terrible band; a collection of “musicians” who took the worst parts of Devo and grunge and churned out a 30 minute album that had maybe five whole minutes of salvageable music.
Luckily for Whirlwind Heat, the decision to record ten one-minute songs and sell it for the price of a full length disc sort of works in their favor. It’s true, there are only about five whole minutes of salvageable music on Flamingo Honey, but on a ten-minute record, that’s half the disc!
Honestly, I can’t quite figure out what Whirlwind Heat is aiming for as a band. Their bio alludes to a great sense of pride in the fact that while Do Rabbits Wonder? took an entire year to create, Flamingo Honey was written and recorded in just five hours. Yes, those musical savants in Whirlwind Heat only need five hours to write and record ten minutes of the most irritating and joyless music I’ve ever listened to. Surprisingly, I’m not impressed.
Album opener, “The Bone” actually provided me with some hope that in the year between Rabbits and Flamingo, Whirlwind Heat picked up a Music For Dummies book. Its minute contains a reserved vocal line over a bouncy little bass line and a steady drum rhythm. I’d even go so far as to say that it’s an enjoyable minute. Unfortunately, the next track, “The Meat Packers” opens with a girlish scream and some heavily distorted bass. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
That’s because, in most cases, each song on Flamingo Honey contains one solid idea that plays out for a minute, doesn’t go anywhere, and then disappears into the next song. The album is hardly cohesive, and the listener is left with what sounds like a very disappointing, half-finished record, in which the synthesizer gets in the way all too often.
The best track on the album is easily “Pearl Earrings.” The only lyric I can make out is the first, which I’m almost sure is “pearl earrings.” Several overlapping vocals are thrown over a punky guitar that shreds quickly over repeated cymbal crashes in the background. The worst part is that it ends just as quickly as it began.
The album ends on a complete downer with “Lazy Morning.” A droning organ plays as vocalist Dave Swanson speak-sings out the last remnants of this very bad ten minute disc. After the considerable height that was “Pearl Earring,” it’s a shame to see all of the momentum lost in an instant.
Listening to Flamingo Honey repeatedly has convinced me of two things. Number one: Whirlwind Heat doesn’t know what they’re doing. About half of the songs on the disc are salvageable. If they had any sense whatsoever, they’d have fleshed those out into full songs and then written five or six more songs to accompany those previous five. Instead, they’ve decided to be more concerned with style than actually crafting great tunes. (The decision to write 10 songs exactly one minute long isn’t clever.) Number two: Whirlwind Heat went from terrible to bad in the span of a year. If they can keep this up, they might actually be a good band in a few years. I’m not going to hold my breath.
Reviewed by: Dan Kricke
Reviewed on: 2005-01-31