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Whirr‘s new album ‘Sway’ arrives this week via Graveface Records. The bicoastal band (located between Philly and Oakland) have delivered four EPs and two albums since forming in 2010 (originally as Whirl). ‘Sway’ first turned heads with the lead single ‘Mumble’ back in July. The once familiar female vocals had switched to male, generating comparisons to Nothing (which features Whirr’s Nick Bassett on bass). Nick has also worked with Nothing’s Dominic Palermo on the side project, Death of Lovers. So yes, that creative relationship is going to rub off. But ironically, unlike previous releases where Nick has been the primary songwriter, this album is their most collaborative work to date (according to the PR).

Producer Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Frameworks) deserves credit for his work on the LP. There’s a lot of bottom end guitars in the mix and he’s managed to convey the weight of the band incredibly well. It’s a heavy sounding record, in the literal sense. Whirr have mastered their hard-hitting slow motion rhythms. It’s powerful stuff when combined with their thick guitar tones. That’s the guts of the record, that feeling it gives you, above the catchiness of any particular song. Of course, like most bands of the genre, it’s a sound best experienced live, and yet Shirley has packaged it perfectly.

In terms of melody, ‘Sway’ doesn’t reach for great heights. The monotone vocals explore a narrow melodic range and yet somehow it still gets stuck in your head. Especially songs like ‘Lines’ and ‘Heavy’. It’s a credit to the style and delivery of the five piece. While Whirr are commonly labelled as shoegaze, they’ve really got just as much in common with punk or metal. They bridge that gap which opens the door to a much wider audience.

On the downside, it runs short (only eight songs in less than 40 minutes). So it’s more of a bulky EP than a regular full length. It also struggles with a lack of variation which is probably why there’s only eight songs, if it were more, the album would drag. To their credit, the cinematic ‘Clear’ (midway through the album) attempts to change this. It’s epic in scope but doesn’t change the feel enough. I was expecting a guest female vocalist to pop in and shake it up. That said, overall it’s still a great listen. It lacks some depth and variation but it still leaves a lasting impression. ‘Sway’ hits you like a weight. It holds you down with a wall of fuzzy guitars and pummels you! Afterwards, you’ll be wanting to do it all over again. Pick it up via Graveface (Vinyl / Digital).

Visit Whirr @ Graveface Records @ Bandcamp @ Facebook.

Whirr - 'Sway'
Sound & Production
Reverb Rating
  • HUGE sound & feel
  • The switch to male vocals works
  • Runs short (eight songs)
  • Lacks some variation
3.9Overall Score
Reader Rating: (22 Votes)

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