I caught Whiner’s performance at the Cat Circus a few weeks back, which was a celebration of NGHTCRWLRS’ new album, Raging Hot, and Young Legs’ new single, Ring of Salt. The fact that Whiner would be releasing their own album, Forever, the following week was completely understated, which is apropos for the album itself.
Whiner puts on a stellar live performance. Cam Castan is one of the most charismatic frontmen on the scene. He absolutely excels in his ability to engage the audience with his delivery of the lyrics, which are the primary focal point of Whiner’s music. Throughout the set, his antics aren’t necessarily flashy or outrageous, but he spikes at strategically selected climaxes, like the burning of the flag at the Cat Circus show, which perfectly accents the flow of the music.
The songs on this album resonate straight out of the Jersey suburbs for anyone that grew up “that” kid. Maybe it’s just me, but I really don’t think it is. Might be the first thing I’ve ever felt confident about. But the songs and the lyrics are so unbelievably accessible and feel almost like your own memories. “Ibuprofen,” has a sleepy feel to it that naturally inspires introspection, and when the verse hits, “I used to go to church/ every Sunday with my family/ I would kneel down in a prayer/ that we’d be happy and healthy,” you can’t help but fall back in to simpler, more innocent times.
Really, what makes this album so relatable is its simplicity. It’s slow and quiet, the guitars aren’t wailing and ripping off face melting solos, but that’s not to say the music is plain either, as anyone who’s seen or heard them already knows. The musical style, delivery, simplicity is very deliberate and Whiner absolutely achieves the effect of nearly hypnotizing the audience by drawing them in with such a digestible sound. I think the best example of this is “Between You & Me,” which lays down a pretty basic beat, mellow riff, and the only lyrics in the song are “All I can say/ Is I wish that things were different/ I wish that things were different/ All, All I can say/ Is I wish that things were different/ I wish that things were different/ Between you and me/ Between you and me/ Between you and me.” That’s only like thirteen different words. They only need thirteen different words to get you right in the god damn heart, and if you say that song doesn’t get to you, even just a little bit, you’re a fucking liar, Mr./Ms. “I have no regrets in my life.”
This is an album you need in your library. It’s a good listen for bad times. Screw it, probably a good listen for good times too. I could see myself putting out while listening to the chorus of “Pity Party,” “I hope we don’t all die alone.” I hope you don’t die without at least listening to this album first.
Adam gave man-birth to N.J. Racket and is as close to an "editor-in-chief" the site has. He's a god awful photographer.