By Samuel Stevens
Release Date: October 23, 2020
October 16, 2020
Genre: New Wave, Indie Pop, Electronic Rock
Label: Fearless Records
Salt Lake City’s I DONT KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME, or iDKHOW for short, is the new wave/pop duo made up of frontman and multi-instrumentalist Dallon Weekes, alongside drummer Ryan Seaman. Both Weekes and Seaman made waves in music before iDKHOW’s inception in 2016 with their respective previous acts Panic! At The Disco (2009-2018) and Falling In Reverse (2011-2017). Both Weekes and Seaman have accomplished a lot as musicians over the years. However, Weekes alone picked up both gold and platinum plaques as the key songwriter to Panic! At The Disco’s chart-topping 2013 album Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! In the last four years, the duo has been composing and performing as iDKHOW have shared the stage with the likes of Twenty One Pilots, Billie Eilish, The 1975, Dashboard Confessional, The Killers, and Blink-182, to name a select few.
iDKHOW’s debut album Razzmatazz resumes where their 1981 Extended Play left off, continuing by performing music mixed from the various styles of music from the 1960s through the 1980s, with a sprinkle of modernity. iDKHOW was initially believed to have been a band from thirty plus years ago that never got their big break -a band that time forgot. Beginning in 2017, an anonymous donor, likely to be believed to be a strange corporation under the name Tellexx, began to release recovered video footage of iDKHOW. The videos in question were released out of chronological order, and they span between the years 1964 to 1983. They hint at a different story than that of a band lost to obscurity. Not enough is know yet about Tellexx to further get into detail. But it undoubtedly plays into the conspiracy theories that debate the band’s history and the overall lyrics of the band’s music.
Let’s get to the music, shall we? First off, Razzmatazz was produced by Sugarcult frontman Tim Pagnotta and was heavily influenced by both David Bowie’s 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, and The Beatles’ 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The album is a presentation of music and spoken word, and it opens with the propulsive, highly infectious opening number, “Leave Me Alone.” This track conveys Weekes’ and Seaman’s love for 80s pop, and other styles of the era, right out of the gate. The track is heavy on synth, bass, and guitar. The Bowie influence is heard immediately as it gives off the late 70s to early 80s David Bowie vibes. Similar to his music on albums notably on, before, around, and after his album, Let’s Dance. The following track, “Indoctrination,” is a spoken-word track readying you for what’s to come. “Nobody Likes The Opening Band” is the third track on Razzmatazz and is sure to be a divisive topic for some, but this little two minute and fifteen second piano track shines Weekes’ sombre side.
“New Invention” is another infectious, bass-driven track that leads to the jazzy little number, “From The Gallows.” This song is full of surprises. It’s pure jazz at its core, mixed with the vocal harmonies reminiscent of Queen, spoken electronic voices, and with a snazzy little trumpet part to close it all out. I don’t want to give away everything on this spectacular album, I will leave out mentioning a few tracks for you to take them in yourself, but the synth/keyboards on tracks such as “Clusterhug” and “Sugar Pills,” the crazy saxophone performance by Reel Big Fish’s Matt Appleton on the track, “Lights Go Down,” and the fantastic love song, “Kiss Goodnight,” have to be mentioned because of how they’ve been stuck in my head since my first initial listen to Razzmatazz. “Need You Here” features a currently unknown female vocalist, the return of the Queen-style vocal harmonies. As well, Weekes’ falsetto shines like never before on the track. “Door” is a short minute and a half poignant acoustic number that shines on its own out of all the bright, infectious, and high-speed pop tracks on iDKHOW’s debut album. The final track on the album is the title track, “Razzmatazz.” The title track is a combination of everything heard on the album. It’s a huge alternative rock track that flows with poppy vocals, flavourful keyboards, and atmospheric, out of this world synths that will drive themselves into your brain and linger within your mind for some time.
While the band’s debut record was unfortunately postponed a week from circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s unquestionably worth the extra seven-day wait. Razzmatazz is the perfect composition of a blend of various pop and rock styles from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Additionally, it’s a miraculous showing of creativity from both Weekes and Seaman as musicians. Be sure to pre-order or even pre-save the save the album before its release at the end of this week.