Illinois - What the Hell Do I Know? (Cover Artwork)


What the Hell Do I Know? (2007)

Ace Fu

If lo-fi rock is what gives you a rise, and by the need for the White Stripes and the Fratellis' music soft rock is high on people's lists, then Illinois' recent album What the Hell Do I Know? will be making its way into iPods and record collections very soon. The Bucks County, Pennsylvania natives have a way with mingling the country frequencies of the banjo with melodic rock productions which make their songs as catchy as Razorlight and as rock-infused as Modest Mouse. Bandmates Chris Archibald (guitar, keyboards, banjo, lead vocals), Martin Hoeger (bass, backup vocals), Andrew Lee (guitar, keyboards, backup vocals), and John-Paul Kuyper (drums) have assembled a debut EP that is lightweight and pleasing with an indie rock persuasion relatable to Days Away and rhythmic grooves that give the songs a tingling bounce in its gait liken to Albert Hammond Jr.'s material.

Tracks like "One on One" and "Nosebleed" have a pop/rock fluidity that pays a great deal of attention to the sonic plumage emerging from the guitar pedals and the curvatures of the vocal melodies. "Screen Door" is a delightful number with an alternative country flavoring on the indie rock pulses, while the rock ballad "Alone Again" corrals mega-phoned vocals and lazy drifting guitar motions. Floating guitar keys adorn the rhythmic grooves of "Headphones" and form rolling clusters on "What Can I Do for You" while the melodic chords on "Bad Day" have an uplifting feel in their movements. Archibald's vocal timbres carry a Jack White pitch and the caressive strokes of Christian Snowhite from Love Arcade. His lyrics have a personable charm and banter like on "Screen Door" when he greets, "Hello all you lovely ladies."

Illinois' debut EP What the Hell Do I Know? is soft pop filled with lo-fi rock and alternative country transfusions. The music is easy on the ears and lightweight on the soul. The band has played SXSW 2007 and are scheduled to play Lollapalooza in August. They finished a stint opening for the Kooks and are scheduled to go on tour with the Hold Steady this summer. Soft-pop is fairing pretty good by audience's estimations.