Music — February 27, 2013 11:12 — 0 Comments

Wimps: A Strident Celebration

Like a Midwesterner two pitchers deep, Seattle slacker punks, Wimps, drop the definite article. Wimps, not to be confused with The Wimps (a 70s London power pop group and what sounds like a teen sex romp comedy starring Michael Cera), announced their presence in early 2012 with a self-released five song EP.  Packed with a clangorous, snotty charm it sounds as if it was recorded live with minimal takes (it almost certainly was) and Wimps quickly proved themselves to be a welcome addition to the Seattle scene. 

On the heels of their demo, Wimps have released their full-length debut, Repeat, a record that finds them honing their sound without giving up any of the energy that made the EP so successful. Stand out track “Stop Having Fun” bounces along with the shouted yips of singer Rachel Ratner, the chorus at once an indictment and a celebration – “Everybody! Stop having fun!” On the face the lyrics are simple, even insipid, but upon closer inspection there’s a playful cleverness enhanced by the hypnotic repetition. Lines like, “It’s the time of the month, for you to shut up,” accrue meaning with each outburst as though Ratner is channeling her evil inner child and that girl WILL BE HEARD.

Perhaps Repeat’s best quality and (also one of its biggest flaws) is its compactness.  Relying on so few overdubs is admirable, but sometimes that comes at the cost of melody. “Trouble” and “Frustration” sound precariously brittle and highlight the lack of variance in the vocal patterning. Simple songs are great – Seattle’s The Spits have made a living from the interplay of uncomplicated, yet tuneful vocal melodies – but one thing they’ve also learned along the way is that a little reverb now and again isn’t such a bad thing.

Reading through the song titles you’ll see that even they have a streamlined quality, sounding like either shouted commands (“Stop Having Fun”, “Quit Your Job”) or lazy captions on Instagrammed photos (“Old Food”, “Time Suck” and the aforementioned “Hello Frustration”).  But what they all have in common, and what ultimately makes Repeat a success is a blissfully simple message: Don’t waste time on things that don’t matter, whether it be shitty jobs, shitty people, or articles of grammar.  What’s left when all that is jettisoned is a refreshingly direct record that revels in the moment despite its own stridency.


–Paul Vega, music writer, The Monarch Review


Paul Vega was born in Kansas and recently received his MFA in fiction from the University of Washington. Since moving to the Northwest he's worked as a writing instructor and held various jobs in the commercial fishing industry. Most recently, he was a deckhand on a troller named Charity.

Leave a Reply

The answer isn't poetry, but rather language

- Richard Kenney