The debut single from the new project of Bobby Lewis explores the transition from contentment to claustrophobia with a sound the artist describes as “blues-rock in space”
In a recent Humans of New York post, the caption below a photo of a beaming man in a blue t-shirt sitting on a bench near the Hudson River reads (in part):
“One of my first days in New York—I went running with a friend in Central Park. I pointed at one of those big apartment buildings on 72nd Street, and said: ‘God, I’d give anything to live there.’ But the devil hears your prayers too. Ten years later I was jogging home to that very same building. I could see the light on in our apartment, and I didn’t want to go inside. I was in a marriage that I didn’t want to be in. A job I didn’t want to be in. I was drinking daily, way too much. I said: ‘God, I’d give up everything if I could just start over and be happy.’…”
The personal story of this particular Human of New York illustrates an extremely… well, human feeling. As people, we’re always focused on what we think we want — and then, once we have it, we might find ourselves desperately wishing we didn’t.
Satisfaction slides into stagnancy then suffocation. What’s blissful becomes boring becomes unbearable. We can go from feeling content to claustrophobic, clawing for a way out, in what feels like the blink of an eye.
It’s this feeling, a sense of being stuck in a situation, desperately searching for an escape, that’s explored in the excellent debut single from Whenwolves (a band name I love way too much), which—two days ahead of its official release—I’m thrilled to premiere here.
“‘Igloo’ is a song about the all-too-often transition from feeling at ease to feeling trapped,” Bobby Lewis, the artist behind the project, shared. “Perhaps in a relationship, perhaps in a job that you hate but are unable to leave. On a musical level, I like to describe the vibe of this tune as ‘blues-rock in space.'”
Along with the single (out Friday), Whenwolves also released an cleverly crafted, impeccably timed lyric video in which the viewer is quite literally strung along, taken on a journey via a strand of yarn as the song unfolds with lyrics and illustrations appearing on Post-it notes and index cards (akin to the clues-on-a-corkboard tactic commonly employed by television detectives—likely an allusion to the title of the forthcoming Whenwolves EP, Recon for the Weirdos).
As for the origin of the project itself, Whenwolves is a result of the recent bandemic — one of many local music projects that began back when we were all home alone in 2020, came fully to life through collaboration and eventually emerged when we were once again allowed to gather.
Of Whenwolves’ inception and evolution, Bobby said:
“Whenwolves is a project I started amid the lockdown, concurrent with my production work on Bodega’s Broken Equipment. After my former band Mustardmind became idle following a 2019 fall tour, picking up the pieces and starting work on new music fell solely on my shoulders, as I had no other bandmates to develop the songs with at the time. So I enlisted Eric Slick (Dr. Dog, Waxahatchee) to play drums on the five-song EP and the musical vision I had been toying with for the project became realized. Now that the live band has been assembled with the help of my talented brother bassist Billy Lewis, we are ready to bring the new tunes to the people with our first gig to be 10/26 at Hart Bar and our first single ‘Igloo’ to be released that Friday. The EP, Recon for the Weirdos, will come out in early 2023.”
Pre-save the single here! And for updates and intel on the forthcoming EP, upcoming shows and anything/everything in between, sign up for the band’s mailing list here to get “incredibly infrequent emails with only the most important Whenwolves-related info.”
Follow Whenwolves at @whenwolves.
Feature image provided by the artist.