What we have here is an album that has many anthems for the new year. And it comes strait from the heart of a band with three members named Chris. These established musicians collaborate to form Pittsburgh’s White Wives (featuring members of Anti-Flag, American Armada, Dandelion Snow), who passed through DC a few weeks ago in support of Happeners, their first full length album, released in July of 2011 on Adeline Records.
One of many anthems on Happeners is “Hungry Ghosts,” the third song on the mature and surprisingly nostalgic album, one that gets better with every listen. “We reflect, when we follow in the footsteps of situationists gone.” White Wives reference past political movements and societal mistakes to reflect on their own experiences. On the track “Spinning Wheels,” lyrics convey a similarly sentimental reflection, “In an old way of life, I found a new way to live.”
Now, there’s nothing sappy or sentimental about White Wives’ music. Take the emotion and intelligence of Sunny Day Real Estate, scrap the constant nasal whine and add addictive Bouncing Souls-esque chants, and you might get close to the White Wives sound, but the music is much more layered with influence. On Happeners, White Wives offer refreshing introspection elucidated by a clever and unexpected experimentation of musical genres: grunge, anarchist punk, emo, and a peppering of indie influence. The result is an addictive and personal listen that melts the most scabbed and jaded heart.
DC9 was kind of a sausage factory as White Wives passed through, but the few ladies who were in attendance represented DC well. DC’s own Beasts of No Nation primed the crowd after returning charged up from performing at The Fest 10 in Gainsville, Florida.
To “another room full of amplified kids” White Wives admit “Paper Chaser” is the first song they ever wrote. They made a really nice shout out to the influence of DC punk and followed it with an amazing cover of The Pixies’ “Where is My Mind,” as Anti-Flag’s Chris Head, red-faced and drenched with sweat, screams acapella, “where is my mind” at the top of his lungs at the audience. WW then launched into “a song that sounds almost just like it,” they joked, as “Hungry Ghosts” ignited the stage. White Wives will finish up their tour at the Beaumount Club in Kansas City, MO on January 22nd.