-ness is the sort of enigmatic band that consistently drops a song or two only to disappear for months just to repeat the process. The group’s latest offering is two-song… something… that shows some of the catchiest output from the outfit to date.
Not Wholesome, But Whole is closer to a single (or pair of singles?) than an EP, and it’s a pretty interesting format. The twist? These are sort of the same song. sort of. “Give me the news” and “Tell me the truth” are both key lines from the shared chorus. And it’s a great chorus—ask all my friends I’ve been constantly using the lyrics to start conversations with.
Give me the news, I wanna know. Tell me the truth or I have to go. We’re going down to the water. Haven’t aged, but we’re older.
The former is a full-band, electric-guitar arrangement; the latter is acoustic and stripped back. And while the chorus might be the same, the rest of the lyrics aren’t—the end tag on “Tell me the truth” personally cements it as my favorite of the two, but the differences between the two each have distinct appeal. There’s a certain grit and edge to “Give me the news,” for instance. The full production allows for vocals to be layered powerfully. And on the quieter half, there’s a Frightened Rabbit sample in the mix.Not Wholesome, But Whole by -ness
This isn’t the first time -ness has toyed with this sort of thing. “The Fisherman” is one of the group’s most iconic songs to date, and they released an odyssey cut, which expands on the original arrangement and features vocals recorded around a pool. But it’s last year’s combo of “Pointless Kid” and “The Other Pointless Kid” that comes closest to what we see here. Again, there’s some shared lyrical text between the two. Similarly, the verses showcase different sentiments. I don’t necessarily understand this approach in such a small context—having one track act as a reprise on an album would be an incredible artistic touch. But when two small subsequent releases have both followed the pattern, it’s a little puzzling.
Regardless of intent, Not Wholesome, But Whole continues to tease loyal -ness fans with tidbits of indie-pop goodness. This may not be a whole album, but it’s definitely wholesome.