Six vertical rectangles, the first three different shades of orange, the last three different shades of blue, iDK HOW written next to that, all on a black background.

I DONT KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME: 1981 Extended Play Album Review

By Tanner Meadows
Music Journalist

Album: 1981 Extended Play
Release Date: Nov. 9, 2019
Label: Fearless Records

I DONT KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME, shortened to iDK HOW, and their debut EP, 1981 Extended Play, is manifestation of nostalgia. Rephrase that– nearly every new rock band is a pastiche but iDK HOW is an easy target. From the band’s name, a reference to “Back to the Future,” to the band members, former Panic! at the Disco bassist Dallon Weekes and former Falling in Reverse drummer Ryan Seaman, to their sound, to their “brand,” to their everything, the group seems, like so many others, to be a reshuffling and repackaging of the past.

Let’s go through the list of the band’s stylistic influences/descriptors, according to their Wikipedia page: electronic rock, indie pop, new wave, alternative, electro pop rock, sixties garage, seventies glam, eighties new wave and the early days of britpop. What does that mean? Apparently it means they sound a lot like Panic!. In our postmodern age, where culture is produced and consumed at a breakneck pace, essentially for the sake of production/consumption, I wonder whether the amalgamation of genres into an ostensibly new form of music, rather than act as a synthesis of the past into something entirely new, is a facade to mask a broader societal stagnation. Frantic action is a defense against impotence.

Here’s what this article could look like, and still be true: they sound good. They have a retro-neon, ‘80s reminiscent aesthetic, while their musical backgrounds in previous bands definitively show through in their current work. A circus-like grandiosity is mixed with macabre lyrics and pop-synthy undertones to characterize the band’s debut release, which makes for fun listening.

iDK HOW is often cited as a hot, up-and-coming band in alternative music. Their relatively recent signing with Fearless is proof of that, and I wouldn’t say it’s undeserved at all. However, one can’t help but notice the explicit extent to which this band exists, or rather brands themselves, through the aesthetics of past eras while remaining musically very familiar.

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