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The Kim Philbys: Whir Whir Whir

Album: Whir Whir Whir
Label: Evangeline

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A lot of roots-rock is doggedly trad, hearkening back to sounds and songwriting formulas that are sturdy but unadventurous. The San Francisco trio The Kim Philbys has been categorized as post-rock more often than roots-rock, but the waltz time and steel guitars on "Pretend We're Dead" and the jangly lope of "Last Song Of The Year" mark them as more in tune with country and western than jazz, in spite of the strange time signatures and the odd burst of electronic noise. On the band's debut album, Whir Whir Whir, frontman Dominic East matches the snaky instrumentation and deep echo with an attenuated nasal whine, drawing together abstract and futuristic sounds with anxiously human ones, and making even repeated non sequiturs like "my hands are so small" sound strange and meaningful.