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Album Review: Welcome to GLOOMTOWN

It’s FINALLY time for I Don’t Know How But They Found Me’s sophomore Album, “GLOOM DIVISION.” Was the album worth the wait? What’s in store for listeners who’ve been trembling with anticipation for this release, or newcomers to the band’s music?

Before I get into the songs, I want to catch you up with the band’s drama. Dallon, via a somewhat ambiguous post on the IDKHOW’s official Instagram said, “Regrettably, Ryan will no longer be participating in iDKHOW. After a series of broken trusts, it became necessary to let him go.” Most of the story unfolded over X (previously known as “Twitter”), where it was revealed that their former drummer Ryan Seaman committed identity fraud in Dallon’s name and stole his songs’ royalties from him. Suffice it to say, Dallon’s had a tumultuous time getting this album out while also balancing family life, music production and legal battles. With that background, let’s take a look at the album with open eyes and ears for a whole new sound.

DOWNSIDE

This song opens with a chaotic, crazy, love-filled energy that sent me into a frenzy when I first listened to it. The “Ga-Ga-Ga-Ga” repeated opening with on-beat claps as it fades into the main instrumental of the song moves like butter.


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Dallon uses his lower register here, which feels almost unnatural, yet grounding in a way that a listener could identify with what he’s saying, and not just that he’s telling his own story. With the message of the song being that of not wanting to leave a lover because of being blinded by their good traits and failing to see the downsides of the relationship, this is something that hits home for me and is bound to for others. The pre-chorus, “Darling I need, darling I need, darling I need, darling I need you here tonight”, sounds so light and passive with an underlying desperation for this lover’s attention. The music video released alongside this track also paints a picture of the manic emotions that come with the feelings the song reproduces, especially in the opening. The song also makes another reference to an earlier work, “Boring” by The Brobecks!

GLOOMTOWN BRATS:

“GLOOMTOWN BRATS” is one of three singles released before the album was dropped, and was immediately my favorite. The outward sassiness of the track paired with the violently anti-pop bassline fits so well thematically with the bands’ previous works commenting on social class and being misshapen within those groups, all the while celebrating those differences as what makes you unique. In the lyric, “It’s your last chance to get…down.”, that drop in his voice takes you right out of the hyperactive sounds of the chorus and into the next verse in such a seamless and well executed way. Overall, it’s an earthquake of a song that I’m sure will be perfect for a live performance with an audience call and response interaction.

Dallon has gone on record to cite many artists from the 80s as his inspirations for creating music, even going so far as to release a cover of “Boys Don’t Cry” by The Cure in the deluxe version of “Razzmatazz”. The drums in this song are stellar, and I think they are what really key into that 80s sound. The backup singers of the song lift it up so high in the chorus and when the lead stops singing,. Even when the chorus gets repetitive later in the song, the lead singer does vocal runs and riffs to make it feel truly complete, and get that air of the 80s sprinkled throughout the track.

INFATUATION:

“INFATUATION” was the last single released preceding the album’s full release, and just like “GLOOMTOWN BRATS”, it was my favorite until the next release. It takes on themes of obsession in relationships and Dallon has a delicate mix of falsetto and his normal singing voice that I think is very characteristic of artists from the 80s, which this song is very reminiscent of. After listening to it within the context of the rest of the album, it reminds me of “Sarah Smile” by Daryl Hall and John Oates from their self-titled album released in 1975.

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Dallon’s deep voice towards the end of the song blends so well with the sultry messages in the song, and I can’t stop listening to it on repeat. It’s a song about battling guilt with sexual desire and obsession, similar to a few other songs on the album. The relationship is toxic, but the fire between the two is what keeps them going. The gain on this part of the track is so high which would usually be a turn off, but I love it here. 10/10 song.

WHAT LOVE:

I haven’t been able to find where the opening sample comes from, but the opening chorus sets a retro tone for the song accompanied by unforgiving vocals that aren’t hyper stylized. The lyrics themselves are sensual and lustful, with lines like “It’s coming like a tidal wave,” and “An overture of sexual perversity.” The song is littered with sexual innuendos, both through the song itself and the accompanying music video.

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SPKOTHDVL:

A steady drum beat opening with a rock and roll-esque riff that plays behind the developing vocals is such a ‘180’ for this band’s known sound and I’m absolutely dying for it. It’s giving Rolling Stones with a mix of more 21st century rock and roll. The message of this song strikes me both as an acknowledgement of the new sound and that your “front page boy has made his return. “Turn the record off because it doesn’t sound like them” is such a universally relevant line for dedicated fans of artists who’ve had any kind of reconstruction in their soundscape. Saying “Are you hoping it’s just pretend?is just another way of pointing the finger at the naysayers who think bands shouldn’t mix up their sound every once in a while.

SIXFT:

I am absolutely in LOVE with this song. I think it features the first F-bomb in their entire discography as well? This song is a momentous occasion. The harmonies in the song remind me of the 60s, like a softer version of “Can’t Help Falling In Love with You” by Frankie Valli. Setting boundaries with a lover, demanding them not to push them around, and going so far as to threaten them to “Fuck around and find out” and end up six feet underground is just such a powerful message. I feel that it’s especially pertinent for our current generation with much more nuanced and complex relationships. The singer is telling us the story of a romanticized abusive relationship, but tells others that it’s just perfect. This song is so sonically beautiful that I’m at a loss of words of how to describe it. It’s addicting and catchy in all of the right ways. Dallon has always had a unique take on the bridges of his songs. Sometimes they’ll serve an overarching purpose, while other times he’ll just flex his musical skills and it’s a treat for the listener. 

FIND ME:

Of every song on the album, I feel like this is the weakest and that’s saying a lot considering how good it is. I think the album up to this point has been super strong, and hasn’t had a single skip. While I wouldn’t skip this song, I think it is a little out of place from the rest as its heavy reliance on techno-sounds makes it stand out from the other tracks. It almost feels like an homage to “Razzmatazz” with the instrumental choices, and I’m definitely not mad about it. I think it’ll be one where my brain wanders off until the next few songs come on.

KISS & TELL:

The drum-bass combo here is so unforgivingly amazing, and the song is just so simple. It’s the indie-rock love-child trying to let go of a broken relationship. Like the name of the song, if the love interest kisses and tells others about the relationship, he won’t hesitate to end it. In a playful way, he tells them “Until then, you can dream of me in your sleep.” He knows he’s got a hold on this person, but is still ready to let them by the wayside. This song reminds me of a project by a group called Mustard Service ironically titled “C’est La Vie”. On first listen alone, this song is in the top 5 tracks of the whole album. I love how unapologetic and self-absorbed Dallon is in these songs, it shows serious growth as an artist that I’m incredibly proud of.

A LETTER:

This is a previously unreleased track, being a popular play at live shows back in the days of Brobecks, and sometimes while on tour for IDKHOW. There isn’t much to the song other than the sampled narration by Matt Glass. Though, in interviews, Dallon has gone on record saying that the song is meant for live harmonizing and creating a beautiful interaction between him and the audience. It’s a nice throwback track, and I hope he revisits other Brobecks songs in the future.

SATANIC PANIC:

What stood out to me first in this song is the bassline, which is so rock driven, and goes well with the name of the song. Rock music in the 80s was seen as evil and devilish, and this track pokes fun at the idea of demonizing it for its own purposes. Similarly to SPKOTHDVL, this track reminds me of the early 2000s Killers. It’s a festival song for sure.

SUNNYSIDE [Feat Will Joseph Cook]:

“SUNNYSIDE” is a slap to the face. After several songs about the devil, lust, love, and sex, we get a track that almost sounds as if Declan McKenna and Wallows had a happy love child. I think lyrically and musically, it’s a song that’s meant to be happier and listened to as such, without any real depth to it. It’s a happy song about not being depressed and seeing the sunny side of life. It is uncharacteristically happy and bubbly for the album but still fits in with the instrumental, so in a way it just snuck itself in there. It almost makes me think it could have been one of the last songs added to the album, but that’s just based on the theme alone. 

iDIOTS OF Oz:

This track is a perfect closer ( I plan on writing about that at some point too). The style of the chorus being sung by a literal chorus invites the listener to make the same declaration:it doesn’t matter what you think of them and we don’t have to listen to the “Idiots of Oz”. This line is also a reference to an earlier track, “Choke”, where the band received some backlash from the lyric “Idiot savants.” The idiots of Oz are those who we rebel against, pushing ourselves to be ourselves, weirdos and deviants we so desire to be. This song has everything I want out of a closing song: a strong message that wraps everything in a bow. I think it drives home that impactful statement, that Dallon has come really far from his times in P!ATD to Brobecks, then having another permanent band-mate, and to now being alone. He’s rocking on his own, making music he wants to make that sounds good and is appealing to him. He doesn’t care what you think. He’s singing to the audience. The final repetition of the chorus as the outro ties it all up nicely with a torn up, burned, and decrepit bow that isn’t meant to please anyone it’s given to.

After a first listen all the way through, the album is still ringing in my ears and on my heartstrings, shaking me to my core and lighting my fingertips on fire. This album is so incredibly unapologetic about how different it is from previous projects that it feels like a personal attack if you go into it expecting to hear anything like what they’ve released before. Moving back and forth from themes of lust and sexual desire, to letting that same love go with threat of violence if continually pursued, and the satanic panic of the 80s, and a bleak awareness that we’re listening to an artist that doesn’t care about what we think is a mind-melting combination. 

I’m giving this album a 9.3/10. The instrumental is refreshing, new, and off-kilter for Dallon Weekes, and I’m in full support. Whenever he uses guitar in his songs, you know you’re in for a treat. While the album has no skips and has inarguably been worth the wait of three years since “Razzmatazz”, some of the main vocals on a few tracks were hard to hear over the rambunctious instrumentals. With how meticulously crafted those were, the lack of clarity in vocals can be somewhat forgiven. My top 5 songs for the album are:

  1. INFATUATION
  2. GLOOMTOWN BRATS
  3. DOWNSIDE
  4. SIXFT
  5. iDIOTS OF Oz

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