General Oglethorpe and the Panhandlers’ “Whistle the Dirges EP”

“I’m not one to cyber-bully, but I would let this one pass.” -BB

Guest Writer
General Oglethorpe and the Panhandlers Whistle the Dirges EP

out of 10

General Oglethorpe and the Panhandlers
Whistle the Dirges EP
February 5, 2011

Named after the founder of the original colony we now know as the state of Georgia, General Oglethorpe and the Panhandlers was created when two friends sat on their front porch and took turns singing songs in the summer night.

As you listen through Whistle the Dirges EP, you can not help but notice the raw emotion the singers portray. The problem with this is you have no idea why they are so emotional. If you read the lyrics as you listen through the songs (as I have done), very few parts are coherent.

For instance, in the song “Donald” reads “True you knew we were slingshot kids / shooting for the bars with hard on hopes / the open at the end of things.”

Or in “Cautious Cartography” when it says “and at home we cut each other’s hair with closed eyes / may have taken us this long but now I realize / you always hung your clothes to dry at the meat market.”

This album is so much better as literature than as music. I understand that “Cautious Cartography” is about moving away from home; the desire to be out and on your own. It’s understandable and meaningful as words on paper. However, when they are screamed by two people singing two parts that do not harmonize, it gets out of control. The songs lose their integrity.

As the songs on this album play on…and on…and on…and on, the melody and harmony are hardly ever in time or in tune with one another. If someone were to tell me that these songs were written and recorded while the band was inebriated, I would completely understand (as most of these songs sound like traditional Gaelic tunes being sung by pirates on the sea). But I feel like more effort could have been shown to coddle the message and present it with more correct notes.

If nothing else, making sure the vocalists are on (or near) pitch. I understand exploring the music, but come on, after listening to twelve tracks this album is exploring my trash bin.

I’m not one to cyber-bully, but I would let this one pass.