Dudes in Whirlwind Heat must shit slinkies. Types of Wood is crammed full of the snakiest, Wire-iest bass lines you’re gonna hear this side of Death from Above 1979. Too bad, then, that the rest of the elements in Whirlwind Heat’s skrawnk rock aren’t as appealing as those low-end theories. The guitar lines tend not to stand out, and David Swanson’s lyrics often dip to extremely juvenile depths.
Opener “Air Miami” comes on as strong as Dwyane Wade driving the lane, sounding like Trans Am when its members drop the Kraftwerk love and do straight-ahead rock. “Up-Tight” is a great dis track in which Swanson meticulously lists off all the things he doesn’t like about a girl. It’s followed by “Captain Cave,” which, with its harmonica intro and softly sung lines, slows things down for just a minute. But things are quickly back up to speed with “Slugger,” full of childish puns that take off from the album’s wood theme.
Swanson stoops to levels even Beavis and Butthead would be ashamed of on “Gene Pool Style” and “The Sun Is Round.” The first is an un-hilarious little ditty about sperm donation. The second proves more annoying than the entire KidzBop back catalog combined. Not only does Swanson repeat the title ad infinitum irksome, he also feels the need to sing the entire alphabet and, yes, follow it up with that line we all know and love from kindergarten, “Now I know my ABCs/ Next time won’t you sing with me.” Dudes, we get it. You’re playing on the juvenile mindset of rock. But you don’t have to beat us over the head with it. And besides, tourmates Be Your Own Pet are kid-ing around so much better.
Bassist Steve Damstra II swoops in to again save the day on the next track, “French.” His interplay with drummer Brad Holland is so taut you’d think they’re some two-headed beast. And Swanson at least makes up for some of his poor lyrical showing with squeaky Moog work on “My Electric Underwear.”
But in the end, Whirlwind Heat does nothing to disprove the argument that this recent flock of slinky, neo-post-punk bands aren’t doing anything Gang of Four did much better a quarter century ago. Too bad an all-star like Damstra is stuck in a sub-par band. Has a bassist ever branched out with a solo album?
Whirlwind Head Web site (streaming audio)“Air Miami” video