Album Review: Expert Timing – “Whichever, Whatever”
Posted: by The Editor
As the entire world continues to feed off the fumes of mental health woes and the ever-scathing unknown that has whirled around us due to periods of isolation and discomfort associated with COVID-19, I don’t think Bubble-Grunge Power Pop group Expert Timing realized what perfect timing it was to release their newest EP, Whichever, Whatever, into the music-verse. Perhaps unintentional, this five-song project bundles up the anxieties that have drifted as heavy clouds over many heads these past few months in a nice, melodic-driving bow. At only 15 minutes long, this record looks through a lens of humanity that connects us all, and it ultimately causes it to act as a long breather away from the thick smog of this pandemic.
Speaking out about Whichever, Whatever, singer/bassist Katrina Snyder shares, “Strangely enough a lot of the album really is focused on the real discomfort of not knowing what tomorrow will look like and learning to live within that and face the uncertainty. It’s something that we’re all hyper-aware of now, but at least anxiety, self-doubt, and trying to grow as a person throughout these experiences is something we can all relate to.”
This sentiment doesn’t wait to take off as it is felt the moment the record’s opener, “Gravity,” unfolds. Staying in tune with their classic sound, the song ropes one in with catchy instrumentals and sing-along lyrics. There’s nothing like Expert Timing’s ability to mask words of melancholy overtop an upbeat tempo. In “Gravity,” this is also accompanied by Snyder’s sticky sweet voice that masquerades happier tones. The crackling tune also displays growth in the band’s lyrical prowess as snippets of imagery make an appearance here with, “My head is like a garden. I try to plant the perfect seeds, but I’ve been filling up my head with things I shouldn’t say. Now, I’ve been buried with the weeds.”
Bleeding, seamlessly, into “Good Things,” the track meanders about while translating feelings of inadequacy and down-crest ambitions. Piling frustrations of inspiration and burn-out, the song simmers alongside Jeff and Katrina’s dual vocals that go down smooth. The downer theme is most apparent when singer/guitarist Jeff closes out the first chorus with, “Please don’t tell me that good things will happen. That’s a fact. I know better than that. Good things don’t just happen to me.” Yet, it immediately drops to a surprising climax that digs its heels into its catchy hooks and sunshiney façade. Be aware, “Good Things” is an enigmatic presence that is hard not to revisit time and time again.
Elsewhere on the record, “Luckin Out” releases hot steam as it backpedals into Expert Timing’s grunge-roots. With sizzling guitars and fast rendering, Jeff shines on this track both musically and vocally leaving behind nothing but a blackened singe. “Constant Melody,” on the other hand, scales back the landscape leaving Katrina with a simple approach- its sound seeming to parallel Swedish Power Pop group Those Dancing Days. Tumbling over themes of isolation and emotional woes, one hears her voice bounce from lyrics about horoscopes telling her not to change to muted words of wanting to be alone. It’s in Katrina’s vocals, though, that licks flames on this track. Her girl-next-door tone resonates much deeper here, as the song sounds like it’s coming from the other side of one’s bed as she vents about her life.
Yet, It’s in Whichever, Whatever’s closer, “MY Body,” that makes the most defining statement. As one would assume, this is Katrina documenting the politics associated with a woman’s body. An intense haunt from it’s start, the immediate shift is shown through how Katrina poises her vocals. Instead of the pixie-dust high, it sounds more wobbly- more wavering. This continues on through the chorus where she cries out, “It’s my body. I’m confused why I have to explain myself to you” while a static landscape soars underneath. As the song creeps on, her edge gets sharper and sharper until there’s a fuzzy, metallic breakdown that mirrors her demand.
With only 5-tracks, Whichever, Whatever, is an upbeat earworm that disguises the anxieties of the unknown. The catchy hooks, irresistible sing-alongs, and fun melodies are not taken for granted here. Instead, Expert Timing has crafted a 15-minute long distraction that eases the tension of the world around us, allowing a slice of normalcy in a very not-normal era. And, it is in this lively soundscape where this EP shines. Because, if there’s ever been a time that we need the fast-paced fun Expert Timing provides, it’s now.
Disappointing / Average / Good / Great/Phenomenal
Hope Ankney | @hope_ankleknee
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