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Album Review: Infatuated with IDKHow’s ‘GLOOM DIVISION’

This album was so good that I started questioning my ability as a writer because I struggled to capture it

By Entertainment, Featured

‘GLOOM DIVISION’ (2024) by I Don’t Know But They Found Me

They’re taking over the world, one track at a time. I Don’t Know How But They Found Me is back with their second studio album, and it just might be the greatest album ever???

With a reputation riddled with alleged delays and even more alleged grand theft from former band member Ryan Seamen, lead singer-songwriter Dallon Weekes has found himself as a solo act, and a damn good one at that. 

The endearing ’80s and oh so funky alt-pop signature sound of IDKHow has returned and matured into its finest form. “GLOOM DIVISION” is an expertly executed theatrical affair poking fun at the flawed philosophies of the upper class.

DOWNSIDE,” the first track, starts slow and gradually builds tension. The track is an anxious trip to a place completely foreign until it isn’t. It suddenly switches into the familiar, yet brilliantly developed sound of IDKHow. 

The second, “GLOOMTOWN BRATS” is the swingy, catchy party girl track every album needs. Unlike the first track, “GLOOMTOWN BRATS” is provocative from start to finish. With a powerful, and britpop-y bassline reminiscent of mid-’90s Blur, “GLOOMTOWN BRATS” is an energetic punch that will catch you like a cold. It’s easily one of the best songs on the album.

The next song “INFATUATION” is alluring, and clearly a play on the romantic music of the ’80s. With hauntingly beautiful vocals and a subdued overall tone, “INFATUATION” is compelling and almost too perfect.

What love could be this vicious, and what track could be this delicious? “WHAT LOVE?” is a song so good it’s almost infuriating. The balance of vocals, guitar lines, and heavy bass is flawless. “WHAT LOVE?” is the perfect example of the wonderfully weird, and it doesn’t fail to deliver. 

SIXFT” is a swoony and endearingly mushy love song with a lyrical edge reminiscent of some of Dallon Weekes’ other songs like “From The Gallows” or “I Will Tonight.” “SIXFT” exemplifies the best quality of “GLOOM DIVISION” —- Weekes’ clear understanding of his own talents —  mixed with years of expertise. This song is a showcase of the graceful aging of IDKHow’s sound. 

A LETTER” is a shockingly good song, and despite it being over 19 years old it still manages to feel contemporary. It embodies another Dallon Weekes staple: reviving and reengineering a pre-existing song from Weekes’ large and long-running discography. Alongside its longevity “A LETTER” is also a much-needed break in the album’s pacing. It acts as a quiet moment between the slowing nature of “KISS & TELL” and the immediate energy of “SATANIC PANIC”. 

SATANIC PANIC” is a hectic and eccentric upbeat tune that you will never be able to get out of your head. It features their signature heavy bassline, as well as some deliciously smooth vocals, combined with uneasy lyricism that all function together perfectly. 

SUNNYSIDE [Feat. Will Joseph Cook]” is the pollyanna lo-fi little sister of “GLOOMTOWN BRATS.” It’s an optimistic yet gloomy oxymoron of a song that’s still charming in its own way.

The final track, “iDIOTS OF Oz” thematically fits with the techno sounds of some of the tracks off of IDKhow’s first album, “RAZZMATAZZ,” and separately utilizes snarky and self-assured lyrics that harken back to this previous album. “iDIOTS OF Oz ” is an interesting closing track, as it feels like a break in convention for “GLOOM DIVISION,” highlighted by a literal convention break in the capitalization of the song title. It doesn’t feel like a closing track. However, ending on this song feels intentional, as if to say “GLOOM DIVISION” is a thought left open. 

“GLOOM DIVISION” is an unsurprisingly fantastic album utilizing nearly every must-have of a quality IDKHow release, including overpowering bass lines, song revivals from past Weekes’ projects, theatrically layered vocals, dark biblically thematic lyrics, and outstanding mixing. 

In a world of music made for social media and established ‘old school’ bands re-releasing the same album every 2 years, “GLOOM DIVISION” manages to be a fresh and skill-filled take on a stylized ’80s sound. “GLOOM DIVISION” is a holy quarantine and certainly something more for my wild imagination. 

Album rating: 10/10

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