Why They Came - Led By the Unqualified to Do the Unnecessary Released January 6th, 2007
Bad Apple Records
“It was consensual/But she claims rape/What a dirty slut”
And when the above is only a snippet of the kind of bygones-be-hardons storytelling that rapes CMT polls and cuts C.W. McCall a little cornball-slack, Why They Came still seem all too comfortable placing these awkwardly direct lyrical liaisons counterintuitively to the band’s feeble, guitar-led trot. Everyone loved Pedro the Lion, but for some reason this new manifestation of guitar/drum formations is a bit less dynamic. Led By the Unqualified to Do the Unnecessary is a leisurely stroll down Lover Lane, in the vein of the latter, stopping only occasionally to give a warm, “Hello!” to the cheating Preacher and…well, Jesus too. AnDrew Mikel (drums) and Andrew Barnett (guitar) seem steadfast is revealing such elements of society with straight-laced, mellowed-tempo campfire-rock anthems. I mean, the two are a great pair, but something hard to explain is absent from the start.
Andrew Barnett’s outright discouragement with the very weakest points of faulty relationships is a good soundtrack to your post-coital regret, but the narrative style he disappointedly trolls along too is almost too irritating at times. “The Wonderful Preacher Man” is clearly the best example of such. Verses like “After they make love/He and his lover spoon/It’s cut short when he says/My wife will be expecting me soon/He leaves the church/Locks the door behind him/And his wife waits as he gets home/ And she thinks what a wonderful man” are painstakingly drawn out and completely unnecessary considering the simple message the overall “story” is trying to get across. Alright we get it; the preacher is a shady guy despite his chosen profession -- now never say ‘spoon’ again.
The duo is decent enough instrumentally. Mikel seems all too on-key with Barnett’s dusty and muttering swoops (“Unwed Protestant Male”) or quasi-surf-rock twists and turns (“The Water Is Too Deep”). However, given Barnett’s persistence for his Sunday school essays to be first and foremost in most cases, any creative measure or unique touch is lost behind grating preachings and sullen relationship lookbacks.
Led By the Unqualified to Do the Unnecessary is sadly a fairly uninspiring release. Too choked up by the cum of soap opera fallout and the occasional church-community scandal leads Why They Came down a path of mixed results. Brevity would have helped this album fair a bit better, but over-examination of overexposed sin kept it from having any real impact on me.