The Whirlwind Heat is one of those bands that I always really wanted to like. Their name references Sonic Youth, which is instantly cool, they have a fondness for distortion and analog synthesizers, which is also super cool, and they have a new record out on Dim Mak, a label that I’ve come to appreciate over the years. All that together should point to something promising and/or good, though I can’t help but think back to their debut on V2, Do Rabbits Wonder?, which wasn’t all that good. And then there was all that Jack White hype, and the band’s unfortunate reputation as being his protégés and not much else. It’s not fair, I know. But Flamingo Honey, at the very least, is evidence that there’s more to the band than celebrity production.
It’s hard to objectively review Flamingo Honey, however, because it’s only ten minutes long. Yep, you heard me right. Ten minutes. As I listen to it, it’s approaching the end and I haven’t even started talking about the actual songs.
So why don’t we talk about the songs? Honey opens with “The Bone,” which is, oddly, one of the slowest, mellowest tracks on the record. It glides along smoothly, with a simple vocal melody and some basic bass lines. “The Meat Packers,” however, has more in common with the spastic, loud version of the band heard on Do Rabbits Wonder?, only more focused and, of course, shorter. “No Gums” is a swampy groover with more than a handful of R2-D2 like moog squeaks. Imagine Enon on the Millennium Falcon and you’re not far off. “H is O” features some annoying falsetto squeals, though rocks hard enough that you forgive them for it. The next few tracks sink into a quagmire of bass grooves and simple beats that go nowhere, but pull themselves out near the end with the hyperactive new wave of “Pearl Earrings,” easily the best track on the EP/album/whatever the hell you call it. “Lazy Morning,” a subdued accordion ballad closes the record, though everything whirs by so quickly, you end up scratching your head, thinking to yourself, “what just happened here?”
I can admire that The Whirlwind Heat took only five hours to write and record Flamingo Honey, a daunting task by anyone’s standards. But the brevity of the record makes it seem like only a tease. After listening a few times, I came to the conclusion that I do like The Whirlwind Heat and there are some good songs on Flamingo Honey. It’d just be nice if they wrote something a little longer next time.
Brainiac – Electro-Shock For President
Enon – High Society
Death From Above – Romantic Rights
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.