NPR logo Gravelly Rock Meets Off-Kilter Pop

Gravelly Rock Meets Off-Kilter Pop

Written Invitation
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The Whigs' members do as good a job as anyone at making frat-rock for hipsters. hide caption

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Monday's Pick

  • Song: "Written Invitation"
  • Artist: The Whigs
  • CD: Give 'Em All a Big Fat Lip
  • Genre: Pop-Rock

It's somehow fitting that The Whigs' members reside in Athens, Ga., the birthplace of R.E.M. and the flashpoint of '80s indie-rock. The trio's debut, Give 'Em All a Big Fat Lip, is a great and goofy exercise in late-'80s/early-'90s nostalgia that combines the gravelly rock of The Replacements with the off-kilter pop of Guided by Voices.

Originally self-released, Give 'Em All a Big Fat Lip was recently picked up and reissued by Dave Matthews' record label. The disc, a chaotic, lo-fi mix of guitars, drums and horns straight out of Memphis, was reportedly recorded in a deserted frat house, which also seems fitting: The band, barely out of college itself, does as good a job as anyone at making frat-rock for hipsters.

One of the disc's few contemplative tracks, the slight and lovely ballad "Written Invitation" sounds like an only nominally updated version of great '80s left-of-the-dial offerings like "Can't Hardly Wait," which is another way of saying it's amazingly good. With its soft but killer hook ("If you're on the 118 / I'll find you on the 118") and atypically mournful air, it's a fuzzy ode to unrequited love that sounds both impossibly sad and improbably hopeful.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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