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  What The ... ?  
  What The  
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Life's full of disappointments: being stood up, the final episode of Friends, a jam doughnut with no jam, Ethel Merman's act, the Sex Pistols' comeback, discovering that my first, proper, tongue-and-everything girlfriend fancied Peter Frampton more than she fancied me…you get my drift, you young pup. Life's full of these kinds of letdowns.

Previously, I've reviewed the rather excellent It Hurts To Be Seen album by those Atlantean subversives The Shut Ups on this very website. So I expected great things of this self-titled offering from yet another Atlanta band, What The, as their bassist/vocalist Lyle Bufkin lends his talents to a few tracks on It Hurts To Be Seen.


I was probaby the worst reviewer in the world for this CD to fall to. Although it's all very competent and energetic, I've never been a fan of rock 'n' roll (in the Little Richard sense of the phrase) or barroom knockabout, toe-tapping music. Sadly, this album falls into both camps quite squarely. I let the CD run, and it was only when the fourth track started that I realised that the first three were not some ironic joke in the same vein as Don Condescending and the rest of the boys from The Shut Ups.

I can't pick out any highlights for you . Similarly, I can't pick out any howling lowlights either, which can only be good. Whether my distaste/dislike/disdain for this music is borne from a cultural streak in me, I cannot tell. I have no doubt that those from the other side of the Atlantic have been fed a diet of this kind of music from a very early age. Indeed, I sometimes feel that this kind of music is intrinsically American, a genre which many European bands can only hope to be a pale shadow of, should they choose to tread the same path as What The. (Note to European bands thinking of treading the same path: please don't, if only for the sake of my sanity and your own physical well-being. I know people who know people, if you get my meaning. Thank you.)

I'd expected, given the afore-said personnel overlap, something at least in the same ballpark as The Shut Ups. Although the gaudy, cartoony cover built my hopes up, alas and alack, it was not to be. Suffice to say that the album contains some rather energetic, bouncy, but, ultimately, anachronistic tunes. The tracks are tight and the album was written and well produced by the band themselves.

That's about as far as I can go with this review. I am reticent to be disparaging about a genre I have nothing in common with and that, therefore, I cannot pass a balanced opinion on. So, I gave it two sponges, but that's because it's not my type of music.

Fellow reviewer and luminary of this site, Postlibyan, ends his e-mails with an electronic signature that reads, "Don't hate me because I can't type." If I may borrow and twist his words, I'd like to close with this plea: "Don't hate me because I can't get down and boogie."

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