The stylistically eclectic whoopee being made on newly formed North Carolina quartet Whoop’s almost self-titled debut album Whoop! (exclamation point for emphasis to make sure we won’t forget) is proof that you can’t fully judge a band’s amazing artistry based on the first few tracks.
Fronted by the endlessly fascinating, charismatic, take you on numerous emotional journeys vocalist Fal (believe me, she’s remarkable enough to remember without a last name), the band starts out in a rawly hedonistic, defiant punkish mode telling us “What I Want, about their desire to “Feel Good” and spewing all kinds of snark at a phony baloney on the high intensity “Cool.”
Then, way deeper in the tracking, just when we think we’ve got these jangly 2020s new waveish rockers figured out, Fal and company (bassist Nick, drummer Will and Grammy winning Canadian guitarist/producer Steve Bigas) throw a major seductive curve with “Jump,” a searing reflection/meditation with languid guitar and searing, Adele-like lyrics that showcase the inviting, Billie Eilish-esque pin drop purity of Fal’s voice.
For those who like the literally jumpy, high octane stuff, this track may seem like an offbeat bump in the road, but it’s truly the emotional centerpiece of the set. Another tune where Fal offers this same depth, perhaps even more seductively, is the closing, neo soul ballad “Nash Park,” whose wistful poetry reminds us that sometimes love and our feelings for others are mercurial and not always what they seem.
Somewhere between these two mood benders and the zesty raucous rockers that dominate before them is the slow burning post breakup resignation song “Jaded,” which matches Bigas’ guitar crunch with the edgier side of Fal’s voice. Make no mistake, Whoop enjoys creating whoopish, fun filled music – but true to the kaleidoscopic, multiple personality tinged artwork, it’s the heartfelt stuff beneath the whoop that will set this indie band apart and take them far.