I Don’t Know How But They Found Me (IDKHOW) have a policy that making music – and the music they make – should be fun. It shouldn’t feel forced, derived from a prescriptive process, but something exciting, new and challenging.
Razzmatazz, the band’s full-length debut, is a product of that. The title itself relays this excitement, but also reveals – if you’re looking closely enough – something a little more complex, a disillusionment with shiny places and faces. What’s beneath all the sparkle?
The record opens with “Leave Me Alone”, a song about disengaging yourself from – or at least, trying to – toxic people and situations. Drummer Ryan Seaman sets an impressive pace and, accompanied by the funky, upbeat bass line, maintains a momentum throughout the song. It makes you want, even need, to dance. It sits balances between a '70s and '80s sound, yet is somehow incredibly modern in tone.
This is something IDKHOW do remarkably well. Interspersed with retro technologies – eerie, automated voices telling you “congratulations, you have been selected, you are special” – are cool, modern electronic rock songs at their finest. In “Mad IQ”, frontman Dallon Weekes refers to himself as “a voluntary victim” – a very current paradox, speaking to people’s complicity in our own suffering – and in “Clusterhug” he refers to a lover as “a holy quarantine”. There are endless twisted phrases running through them, Weekes’ unique lyricism making for a fun, bizarre, and thoughtful listening experience.
There are moments on the record that fall flat – “From The Gallows” feels like a band trying to appear ‘edgy’ when it doesn’t really suit them, and the excessively repetitive chorus of “Lights Go Down” ruins what is otherwise a creepy, seductive track. But they continuously redeem themselves, with the dreamy synths of songs like “Kiss Goodnight” and groovy bass line of “Sugar Pills” and “New Invention” taking you to a variety of places and times within the 14-song run.
It’s often as if you’re in a time machine, jumping from moment to moment as the songs shift into each other. This feeds into the long-running lore of IDKHOW, but also creates twists in the narrative that fans may have only just begun to fully grasp – no doubt continuing to try and figure it out will serve as an exhilarating experience for the dedicated listeners in an otherwise entirely exhilarating time. It’s almost as if you don’t have to be ‘there’ at all – if you choose to immerse yourself in Razzmatazz, you can be anywhere, in any time, for as long as you need to be.