July 13, 2021
Written By: Eric Foreman
FUCKIN WHATEVER RELEASE THEIR NEW SELF TITLED EP
It starts with a hum. Layered and hopeful, the sound is distant at first but opens quickly as if one has just made their way into a clearing. The first notes of Fuckin Whatever’s debut EP represent the theme of the whole, the trees just a small sample of the forest as a unit. The vocals that initiate the first track “Trash” may seem innocuous, however, they are symbolic because – aside from some percussion – the human voice is the only instrument used on this release. As a result, the EP comes to represent an interesting experiment in psychedelica for the modern age.
Fuckin Whatever is a new project comprising Anthony Green (Circa Survive, Saosin), Adam Lazzara and John Nolan (Taking Back Sunday) and Benjamin Homola (Grouplove). The group was born out of a restless need to create, dating back to freestyle jam sessions during the 2016 Taste of Chaos tour. These acoustic and acapella jams took place backstage and in parking lots all over the country. Along the way, the decision was made to record some of these jam sessions, laying this record’s foundation. The scrappy, backyard attitude of the way this project began permeates into the name and in the sound of the record. The moniker “Fuckin Whatever” states plainly that title and prominence is not to be worshipped but instead implies that we should focus on the product and on the collaboration that allows its existence. It is not a coincidence that 2020 is the year these songs finally were recorded. One of isolation, brooding and loss – it is a fitting time to equip the power and adaptability of the human voice.
Opening notes aside, “Trash” evolves into a rhythmic tune. The chorus forms the backdrop of the song with Anthony Green’s lead vocals rising above the crowd. The track rides, cutting out and adding in vocals effects almost haphazardly. The track ends as it began, with a hum. Second track “I’m Waiting on You” begins with a sturdy, repeated “Hey…Ho '' like a slowed, acapella rendering of “Blitzkrieg Bop”. The vocalists share lead vocal duties in a swirling mass of ooh’s, aah’s, shouts and stories. Like track 1, there is a build-up, a steady plateau and a decline. What is immediately clear about this EP is that it does not intend to pull forward the technical precision of Circa Survive nor the catchy, emo hooks of Taking Back Sunday. Instead, the tracks exist as something new. Each song follows a general pattern with vocal sounds bleeding in and out of the listeners consciousness, lending to more of an aesthetic than a statement.
Lead single “Never Believe” best showcases the use of percussion. The song begins with a steady beat with layered vocals on top. As Anthony Green’s haunting falsetto enters the mix, tambourines and assorted percussion join as well. It is important to note that the prevalence of vocals does not diminish the vocal performance. Green sings, shrieks and screams with his usual passion and longing where Lazarra’s vocals allow for a more stable foundation in the tracks. Last song “I’m Not Afraid” see the strong, spacy vocals in the beginning of the song slowly become buried within the distorted background as Green repeats “I’m not afraid to die alone”.
Each song on the project functions as a part of a whole as opposed to an individual statement. It is music meant to be felt rather than analyzed. While the symbolism of the creation of the project and it’s timing sit on the surface, at its core it is a psychedelic experiment meant for long car rides or otherworldly journeys. It is inspiring to know that even in times of worldly distress, art can and will exist in new forms – by established creators and novices alike. This EP is not for anyone expecting a recreation of an individual group member’s typical sound but instead meant for relation – another link in the thread that we currently work to rebuild after a long time spent disconnected.