Posted by: will | April 4, 2007


Illinois “What The Hell Do I Know?” (Ace Fu)

Buy it at Insound!

Illinois are one of those bands that sound so damn familiar yet you just can not put your finger on where you have heard it all before. Seriously, a minute into every listen of What The Hell Do I Know? I find myself scrambling to draw a single uniform comparison. Still, I always find myself struggling to do so in the end…instead I am left with a plethora of bands that Illinois resemble in some shape or form. Illinois hail from Pennsylvania (how clever, eh?) and the band plays indie rock mixed with some folkier leanings.

I swear, it seems as the band had a blueprint for every song to sound like a different band. Album opener “Alone Again” reminds one of Broken Social Scene. The song has the familiar slow build and delicate vocal delivery combined with an appearance of female vocals as well. “Nosebleed” reminds me of early Modest Mouse with its wild vocal stylings and banjo picking bubbling under the surface. “What Can I Do For You” sounds like that beautiful pop ballad that Wilco does so well. “Headphones” is reminiscent of Dinosaur Jr. with its manic guitar stylings and vocals that sound like J. Mascis was secretly standing in the back of the studio.
Illinois should be commended for their influences though. Every band I am reminded of on What The Hell Do I Know? are bands that I simply love.

At 7 songs and less than 20 minutes, What The Hell Do I Know? absolutely begs for repeat listens. Classic indie rock fans should find so much to love here. This EP has me absolutely giddy at the thought of an Illinois full-length album. But, while the indie genre-hopping is quite infectious on an EP, I’m afraid it might be a little too much on a full-length. Let’s hope the band is able to settle down a little bit on their debut album. If not, they might just drive me completely insane.

RIYL: Modest Mouse, Broken Social Scene, Wilco


Illinois – Alone Again (mp3)

Illinois – Screendoor (mp3)

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