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Despite its mid-September release, The Whigs’ new album Enjoy the Company reminded me of summer. The Whigs have mastered the art of feel-good rock and roll. Each song would be perfect for a road trip, late nights with friends, and summer barbecues. Of course, the album cover, which features a lone hot dog and a blob of mustard, certainly reinforces this image. This is the fourth album from The Whigs, and it is clear they know who they are, producing ten solid mid-tempo rock tracks and somehow managing to make it sound incredibly easy.
The album is bookended with the longest songs on the album, “Staying Alive” and “Ours”. The first is eight minutes and starts at a steady, galloping pace and a happy-go-lucky melody. Lead vocalist and guitarist Parker Gispert sings about feeling experienced and maybe a little tired, but repeats the phrase “wind me up” throughout the song as if he is ready to rise up and give the day his best shot. This opening sets the tone for the rest of the album; in the best way, it sounds like the kind of songs a regular American guy would make if given the chance. Each song is carefree and relatable. Parker’s vocals have hints of country, reminding the listener of the band’s roots in Georgia. His voice is strong and familiar sounding, as if he’s a good friend who just happens to be in a successful rock band.
On “Tiny Treasures”, The Whigs take us on a trip to California and then outer space: “We’re out in Hollywood/Dancing in the stars/I’ll walk you to the moon/Arm in arm on Mars.” The verses are pretty edgy for The Whigs, with muffled vocals and a rolling guitar line. If you like this song, you’ll love “Rock and Roll Forever”, which pays tribute to all rock bands and opens with very Jack White-esque power chords. It’s songs like this that are meant to be played live, and one can imagine how crazy audiences will go when they hear this one in concert.
The Whigs slow it down a notch on “After Dark”, a hushed, slow-tempo song that sounds similar to Radiohead’s “Karma Police”. The lyrics in Enjoy the Company are almost surprisingly poetical for what seems like such straight-forward rock and roll, which makes the listener pay close attention. In this song, Gispert sounds sad and reflective, singing “From the neck down/it’s a new town/Tie your bootlace/leave your suitcase.” The eighth track, “Thank You,” has a similar tempo and tone but is less melancholy. Here the band sounds as sweet and relaxing as a lullaby, complete with a tinkering piano.
The Whigs’ have repeatedly been on lists like Rolling Stone’s ‘Top Ten Up-and-Coming Artists to Watch’ and have spent many years opening for huge bands such as The Killers and Kings of Leon. This album has the potential to finally push them to the top. However, after spending a lot of time listening to Enjoy the Company, one gets the impression The Whigs are perfectly comfortable where they are right now, and they sound great too.