“If Not Why Not If So How”: Sheenjek Asks the Heavy Questions (Track Premiere)
"If Not Why Not If So How," when you put the commas in the right spots, is a simple methodology to test a theory: an incorrect solution can be tossed out with a single counter-example, but the path to truth requires extensive evidence. As demonstration, Portland noise rockers Sheenjek posit a succinct hypothesis with the first lyrics of the song: "nobody cares." Their proof for this comes in the form of four minutes of unhinged rock with an emphasis on volume, drive, and bitter humor. I'm more than convinced, myself -- take a listen for yourself with our exclusive stream.
The band's upcoming full-length debut Unclever is a thick and viscous tide of sound: burly riffs entrenched by an uncompromising rhythm section and accentuated by all manners of scrapes, slides and feedback. The name, I think, is a misnomer, as the structures that the group hammers out with this unwieldy mix are ingenious. They're dynamic and creative enough to make every hefty song a compelling argument to listen to the next, and "If Not Why Not If So How" carries the album into its second half with a noticeable lack of subtlety.
It's not a flashy or overly-technical approach -- far more importantly, it's interesting: the band takes full advantage of their dual guitars, incorporating their distinct characteristics and letting them operate individually in both ears rather than creating a homogenized roar. This adds depth when one guitar deviates to wreak bizarre harmony or create noisy accompaniment, but when a suitably big-n'-dumb riff arises, the disparate tones slam together like pieces of a skull-destroying puzzle.
Never tied down to any given cadence or formula, Unclever shines whether it's operating at an inebriated sprint in "Damocles" or at the measured, gloomy pace of "Monkey Brains." Somehow, in both cases, I found myself nodding along with the same level of energy -- a cheerful embrace of nihilism, maybe, or just appreciation for the killer hooks. Whether you're on board with their cynical musings or not, Sheenjek's skill at creating momentum through walls of absurdly dense sound inspires rapt attention.
Unclever releases August 28th via Seventh Rule Recordings.
Regarding "If Not Why Not If So How," bassist and vocalist Dave Becker comments:
"If Not Why Not If So How" came about watching the Science Channel, and it was an astronomer who said that phrase talking about experiments and processing evidence. It fit pretty well with some lyrics I had about how no one gives a shit about you and your struggles, no matter how important they are to you. I used it as the chorus and the title, much to my bandmates' chagrin, as it is a bit clunky to say and to write down.