Album Review: I Don't Know How But They Found Me - Razzmatazz

Thomas Wrath shares his thoughts on the debut record from American musical duo, I Don't Know How But They Found Me.

Thomas Wrath
9th November 2020
IDKHBTFM dazzle on their debut album, filled with luminous and hallucinogenic alt-pop that conjures a bygone era of neon-stained soundscapes.

Taking inspiration from 80’s synthpop, bass-percussion duo Dallon Weekes (Panic! At the Disco) and Ryan Seaman (Falling In Reverse) move away from their emo-pop roots under the premise of a rediscovered fringe 80’s group. With crackling, polaroid quality on the long-time fan favourite, and self-deprecatingly meta ‘Nobody likes the opening band’, the tone for the enthusiastic and theatrical album is set early on. Euphoric lashings of neon-pop on ‘New Invention’ and ‘Leave Me Alone’ make it easy to see why Rock Sound called them ‘the hottest unsigned band in the world’ back in 2018. An amalgamation of jazzy bass riffs, crooning vocals and speakeasy baroque piano, help the duo channel everything from Killers-esque anthemic pop-rock (‘Clusterhug’) to Talking-Heads-come-Kraftwerk funk (‘New Invention’).

Weekes and Seaman truly exercise maximalism in their music, with bombastic and triumphant choruses even on the more reflective tracks such as ‘Need You Here’ and the beautifully melancholic ‘Door’- which on the surface yearns for a lover, but underneath projects a tear-jerking nostalgia. Sprinkled with psychedelia and thick with the smoke of hazy nightclubs, Razzmatazz is not just a tribute to the 1980’s, but a complete embodiment of a bygone era. Warm and soulful synth riffs pepper the album, contributing to avant-garde soundscapes on tracks such as ‘Mad IQs’ and Psychedelic Furs imitating ‘Lights Go Down’. However, there are slight glimpses of the albums futuristic production, with IDKHows trademark vocoda on the crooning ‘From the Gallows’, and Dallon’s Brandon Flowers-esque vocal on the flamboyant title track ‘Razzmatazz’.

Razzmatazz is not just a tribute to the 1980’s, but a complete embodiment of a bygone era

Referencing Emmett ‘Doc’ Brown’s iconic line in ‘Back to the Future’, the physical name of the band is not just a knowing wink to 80’s cultural phenomena, but a physical manifestation of their original desire to be unfound. Have Weekes and Seaman stolen Marty McFly’s DeLorean and found themselves deposited in 2020; we can’t be sure? But, bearing mind the quality of this shimmering and prodigious album, we can be certain they want to be found…

(4.5/5)

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