From the album cover, there’s something intrinsically strange here, starting with the pairing of the high profile tech-iness of the Final Fantasy style character on the cover and the goofy name Ducky typed emphatically next to it, as well as the mysterious title The Whether. Under the web-footed moniker, New York’s Morgan Neiman does some similarly surprising mixing and matching, lumping club, dub, hip hop, and pop soul tropes all together into some unusual compositions.
Opener “I Want To Die” seems to simultaneously want to drive some smooth dance floor energy, make you think about your life, and drone you into space. With this kind of unbalanced attack, it’s no surprise that the result is interesting, if unsuccessful, at completely achieving any of those goals. Morgan’s repeated anthem of the title is solid, her sultry voice playing against (and against is the right word for it) cheesy dubstep bass wobbles, a canned electronic beat, and a bland verse from featured rapper Misterthumbs.
Neiman’s voice is similarly strong throughout, but the loosely spiraling, pseudo-dubstep influenced production is a strange bedfellow for her lingering, cooing delivery. Pieces of songs get chopped up, remixed in on themselves (as on the outro to “Like Rain”), or rely on crackly atmospherics without finding a hook. Too often, it sounds as if Neiman has found herself caught in a club where she doesn’t belong, trying to make some sort of dreamy sense of the sounds presented to her.
With more hooks and a slight alteration to the sonic palette, this EP could be a real winner. Any artist capable of combining the influences she has on The Whether and not sounding awful has some talent, and an expanded outlook on a full-length could be worthwhile. This short EP, though, drifts and meanders thematically, while relying on sounds and textures that proclaim bravado that just isn’t here.
Essential Tracks: “I Want To Die”