I DONT KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME (stylized as iDKHOW) released their debut album, RAZZMATAZZ, Oct. 23. RAZZMATAZZ is confident, featuring grand anthems and wistful melodies, all fronted by Dallon Weekes’ bold and stylistic singing.
iDKhow’s origins are unclear — the initial concept of the band existed since 2009, but both members were in other bands at the time. Secret shows held in small venues around Los Angeles began in 2016, but when confronted with pictures or videos of these shows, both band members Dallon Weekes and Ryan Seaman denied the project’s existence. After about a year of sidestepping questions, the unnamed duo finally came out into the light in 2018, acknowledging the band’s existence, confirming the band’s name, and releasing their debut EP, 1981 Extended Play.
Then, two years of no new content, save for three new Christmas songs and some music videos.
Finally, RAZZMATAZZ drops from the enigmatic pair. And what a drop it is.
The opener, “Leave Me Alone,” starts the whole album off with a bang. An interweaving, fluctuating, slightly gritty synth compliments a strong rock beat, and a guitar frolics in the background with a counter melody. On top of it all, Weekes’ vocals dip up and down from a conceited and powerful falsetto to a lower, quiet, intense confidence instead. At the end, a theremin streams erratically through the instrumental, ending off the song with its high pitched, alien-like sound.
Every song is built carefully like this, starting from the foundations of synths and punching drums and elevating the sound with background vocals, processed string instruments, or voice clips of conversations. iDKHOW’s talent is maintaining the signature style they’ve built — sarcastic crooning lead vocals and glowing electronic soundscapes — while still exploring different emotions and instruments. Their lyrics are sincere and critical all at the same time, sometimes sassy and sometimes genuinely sorry.
Take “Sugar Pills,” (track 7) a song about the placebo effect and temporary solutions, and compare it with simple, familial love of “Need You Here” (track 10). The chorus for sugar pills has the singer asking,
“Sugar, sugar, sugar pills —
Give me something more for my wild imagination
Sugar, sugar, sugar, pills —
Tell me something more than a sick fascination.”
And “Need You Here” sings us away with a heartfelt wish:
“There is no other place in this world that I’d rather be
If I can’t be at home then I’ll send my apologies
“Can’t you stay right here forever, pretty please?”
I need you here with me, I need you here”
iDKHOW’s RAZZMATAZZ lives up to expectations and defies them, managing to stay true to the band’s established sound and pushing the boundaries at the same time. It’s an iconic first album, worth relistening to dozens of times.