You might have heard whispers for the past five months that Whatever Brains—to my mind, one of the absolute best bands to emerge from this state during the last decade—have broken up, playing their final show while opening for Lighting Bolt back in May. Indeed, Bryan C. Reed alluded to the dissolution in his recent review of Whatever Brains’ presumably last single and, again, in his review of the Brains side-project ISS this week.
But aside from a Facebook quip, Whatever Brains have kept publicly mum about the split—until today, when the band announced that its upcoming fourth self-titled LP would also be its final one. At least the news comes with “Pluries,” a gift for the grieving.
Whatever Brains’ parting shot comes with some of the band’s most pointed lyrics ever, and “Pluries,” the middle section of a terrific three-song suite about “racist bastard police”—is a prime example. The song builds slowly, distortion steadily piling atop a marching beat and a doleful organ line. Frontman Rich Ivey sets a dystopian scene of butchers clearing the streets of corpses, presumably human, in dispassionate, workmanlike fashion as the band adds drums-and-electronics drama around him. “A wave of disregard is reeling,” they sing as a gang at the start of the closing verse, pronouncing institutional apathy as a plague.
Whatever Brains spent the better part of a decade making moves many of their peers wouldn’t dare. The same holds for “Pluries,” a reminder that I’ll miss this band after it finishes its vanishing act upon this album’s November 20th release through Sorry State Records.