This is a nicely balanced album of blues, rockabilly, swing jazz, latin, alongside a splash of soul, cool Cooder blues, and a little honky tonk. Despite the wide range of styles the result is a smooth running, ultra cool, and highly enjoyable experience.
The fleshed out sound of the band adds a whole new level of confidence and authority through skilful musicianship. This is a tasty, classy, and engaging album with many individual highlights. That sense of class remains consistent throughout and the band literally do not miss a beat.
Opening with the retro title track, we are soon into cool blues territory with “Black And White” complete with beautiful lap steel. A gloriously swampy “Rev Gal,” leads to the smooth swing of “The One I Left Behind.”
“Rough Diamond” adds another twist with Emily’s voice lifting the hairs on my neck. Magnificently backed by a superb arrangement, it acts as further confirmation that this group can deliver the many styles they are clearly inspired by.
“Wolf” livens it back up with a swinging duet between Steve and Emily. There is a Latin color in “Rollin & Tumblin,” “Illuminated” adds the boss nova, while the excellent “Way Out West” eases in with a smooth late night vibe, backed by a hypnotic bass line, and violin.
A muddy “I Thought I Loved Someone Else” has Steve’s vocals dueting nicely. “Last Go Round” again showcases Emily's voice and leads into their take on Bob Marley’s “Lively Up Yourself.”
This is an album that eases its path through several styles and moods and yet hangs together effortlessly. This is testament to the quality of the song-writing, and the accomplished musicianship. Emily simply nails each track in all styles superbly.
The Why & Wherefores may have a name that is hard to hold onto, but this album is anything but. Without even so much as a slight dip in quality they have served up an impressive release. Alright is just what it says, except you can now add ‘more than just’ in front of its title.