iDKHOW: Razzmatazz

22 October 2020 – Reviewed by Mz Terra

I DONT KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME (iDKHOW) represents the blended talents of Dallon Weekes (ex-Panic! At the Disco, The Brobecks) and Ryan Seaman (Falling in Reverse, The Brobecks). Weekes introduced iDKHOW at a small venue in Los Angeles after previously refuting its existence. A formal project reveal was made before hitting the mainstage at UK’s Reading and Leeds Festivals. iDKHOW have shared stages with Blink 182, The Killers, Twenty-One Pilots, The 1975 and The National, just to name a few. 

Signing with Fearless Records – who agreed to give iDKHOW the free creative reign they desired, we are gifted with the sweet, glossy and craftily engineered concept debut album ‘Razzmatazz’, inspired by Sergeant Pepper and Ziggy Stardust. 

This studio album, released through Fearless Records/Caroline Australia, follows on from their two EP’s, 1981 Extended Play and Christmas Drag and is hitting shelves and your online shopping trollies on Friday 23 October 2020. 

With a glitchy entry, track one, ‘Leave Me Alone’, goes on to boast a retro groove with vocals that skip atop the notes of nostalgic synth delight. ‘Mad IQ’ then makes a bold statement with its glam fused pop rocking sound that will have you cutting shapes 80’s style over phantom shoulder pads. 

Next up is a melodramatic ballad about… well the title ‘Nobody Likes The Opening Band’ says it all. With a semblance of lyrical truth (hopefully not so much these days), Weekes’ pipes shine in the shimmer of his vocal range, superbly executed when closing out the track.

‘New Invention’ is super-smooth and slick and gives off the same sci-fi atmosphere as the title track and the lolly-pop synth-sweet ‘Sugarpills. There is a definitive 80’s sci-fi influence in this album (think Back to the Future and Dr Who).

‘From The Gallows’ swings in beneath a blue moon and starry sky. I love the 30’s charm of this number and the vintage embellishment at the end.

‘Clusterhug’ take 2, is well honed and matured production of the Brobeck’s version. It delivers a stronger, more polished anthemic feel and invokes images of a mini musical for just one track. Eerily the lyrics are a sign of times, but written before the pandemic…

‘Kiss Goodnight’ will have Cure fans swooning – it is the Cure, it is Robert Smith revisited and it is one of my favourite tracks. ‘Lights Go Down’ bathes you with lathery synth and sudsy sax as it romances you so artfully, you can once again taste and smell young love in the 80s.

‘Need You Here’ could bring a tear. Weekes’ daughter features on this track with its rhythmic keystrokes and lyrics that give a glimpse into his sacred space.

Eloquent and elegant is the ‘Door’. A short and delightful number, that could be thrown in just for Weekes’ vocals to lavish in. Beautiful and I’d love to hear him sing this one with only piano to accompany that glorious voice.

And the title track skips in last as clear keys morph to synth. A retro new wave feel oozes as you image an encounter with Dr Who… Don’t ask, just listen. A grooving bass line drops and Seaman joins in on tubs followed by Weekes’ as you are transported someplace uptown as the sky begins to darken and city lights begin to warm. The lyrics reflect disenchantment with Hollywood, Weekes’ dynamic upper range is showcased when singing the words ‘cast all your spells’. He hits high notes Pavarotti may well be down with. What gives ambience to this track is the sax theme that eventually moves you deeper into the night, to the end of the show. Curtains close, wait, was that a cassette tape sounding off? I can’t be sure. 

Similarly, as with ‘Clusterhug’, listeners could not be blamed if they thought the title track lyrics “Let’s go paint the town on our way home, the blinking lights are breaking bones” were aimed towards recent protests or riots in the US. Regardless, there has and always will be Hollywood politics, politics in Hollywood, or Hollywood in politics, where… “there you have that good old-fashioned razzmatazz…”.  

Some may conceive this album as a simple modern new-wave-electro pop release because it is so catchy, velveteen smooth and an easy listen from the get-go. Spoiler alert! Herein lies beautifully crafted complexities awaiting your audible discovery. The Easter eggs, so deceptively woven and hidden within the arrangement and production of this album, yearn to be discovered. 

Elements like the stacked vocals, sci-fi references and vintage vibes mixed with 30-40s nostalgia and guest appearances of brass and keys are just some of the layered morsels that will unravel and reveal themselves more with each listen. These tasty crumbs could be encouraged to roll onto your eardrums sooner if you give it a listen with some good head gear.

You may enjoy this tune if you like the Unlikely Candidates, the Cure, The Moth & The Flame, Muse, Imagine Dragons and Beatles and Bowie of course!

Razzmatazz is out on Fearless Records and Caroline Australia on October 23.

Preorder or pre-save your copy of Razzmatazz

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