Milwaukee Artist of the Week – 1/2/2015 – Whips
This week’s Milwaukee Artist of the Week is Whips, a band that is quickly turning heads with their pulsating energy. The band recently released their second album, “Turn It On” both digitally and on vinyl, and it is definitely a statement record for the band. If you like fun, straight up rock n’ roll, a la bands like The Hives and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, then Whips is a name you need to know.
With a brooding intro, “Switchblade” is a calling card that lets you know what you’re about to experience. Frontwoman Ashley Smith has a very Karen O quality to her delivery. With a strong voice and commanding tone, you can almost hear the voice of Wayne Campbell from Wayne’s World declaring “She wails!” while you hear her sing. The track, with a big sound, is fittingly followed by “Big”, with a bouncing rhythm reminiscent of the stereotypical 70s rock sound. The third track, “Fire Drill” is fittingly more manic, alternating from a cool, laid back verse to decidedly more chaotic chorus. One third of the way into “Turn It On”, and the only thing that comes to mind is that Whips are damn impressive.
Things slow down a bit on the next two tracks, but it doesn’t make the record any less compelling. With a gentler, more trudging sound, “It’s Over” relies on Smith to draw you in, which she does well. This more mellowed-out side of Whips continues on “Forever Glow”, a piano driven track with a bright melody, and still very full of emotion. This is a band with range, and creatively they allow their sound to go there, while still being very unique to themselves.
The band wastes no time picking up the tempo again with “Right On”, a frantic song accented by chugging guitars and echoey vocals. This motif carries perfectly into “Wise Words”, another fun rocker of a track that sounds way too fitting for a live show. The album closes on “Loverly” and “XOXXX”. The former of those two is a spacier song that explodes towards the end, and the latter sends the album off with a bang. From front to back, “Turn It On” is a fun, well written record, and one that will undoubtedly propel Whips even further into the limelight. Check out “Turn It On” below: