Illinois – What The Hell Do I Know / 2007 Ace Fu / 7 Tracks / http://www.illinoistheband.com / http://www.acefu.com / Reviewed 23 April 2007
Ace Fu is coming out with a number of clients that do not seem to be any bit similar to An Albatross; diversification is great but hell for the reviewer that assumes that clients will be similar in sound and scope. Anyways, “What The Hell Do I Know” is a 7-song EP by Illinois, and “Screen Door” is a track that has a drum beat and set of vocals that will hearken back to the sixties. In much the same way that Belle and Sebastian and The Zutons were able to call forth the earlier style, Illinois is able to craft a track that is influenced by but is not aping the overall style of the sixties.
However, Illinois adds their special flair to the track, with a synthesizer solo that gives the track just the vaguest hint of the eighties music that acts like The Killers have made it big on. The fact is that Illinois has cut an incredibly catchy single that should be present on radio stations all throughout the world; the unity of electronic and organic along with vocal and instrumental puts them in a great position on this EP. “One on One”, the track immediately preceding “Screen Door”, starts off with a much more atmospheric sound. The wide-open sound of the guitars does not play as much to the sixties set as it does to the post-Cure set; the vocals may still be rooted in the earlier style, but the blend of the two styles is enough for Illinois to have their own style. The synthesizer is again the focal point of the track, with it acting in an emotional way when the vocals wink out of existence for a few seconds. The drums step in in a major way during this track, providing something that is tangible given the very airy sound of the synthesizers during this track.
Two styles are shown by these two tracks, and yet it is incredibly easy to figure out that these tracks are Illinois tracks; the band does well in crafting their own sound during the entirety of “What The Hell Do I Know”. While the band still has to show listeners that they can last through the entirety of a full-length album, the seven tracks are close enough to 10 or 12 that the band will not have much in the way of problems as those acts that only put three or four tracks on a disc. Illinois is an act that will break it big sooner rather than later; I can see them double-shotted on radio with acts like the aforementioned Killers or even Interpol or Franz Ferdinand, when the later two release a new album.
Top Track: Headphones