My sister Charlotte should probably be writing this review. I Don’t Know How But They Found Me (or iDKHOW) is her band. She’s in the top .001% of their Spotify listeners. She’s been to two of their concerts and is distraught they won’t be coming to Texas this year. She’s got their merch. She dresses in their colors.

But I’ll do my best.

Gloom Division, the band’s new album, was released on February 23. At 8 a.m. I woke up to texts from Charlotte, already up and ready for school, demanding I listen to the album as soon as possible, but I held off.

Our text exchange:

12:45 PM: Con did u listen to gloom division

12:46 PM: Currently listening with Kayla while getting my nails done

12:47 PM: Have you listened to it all the way through

12:48 PM: Not yet just started

12:49 PM: Oh isee

The anticipation was palpable. I pressed play on my phone and entered the Gloom Division.

The album’s opening track, “Downside,” is also an ending — dealing with the regret of a premature breakup while serving up a sizzling platter of high-energy longing. The tone stands in sharp contrast to that of the band’s last album Razzmatazz, a sci-fi spectacle of bleeps, bloops and plexiglass-clear vocals. Here, lead singer Dallon Weekes embraces a lower register, at points almost growling his lines — fitting for an album with song titles like “SPKOTHDVL,” “SIXFT” and “Satanic Panic.” The false cheer of Razzmatazz returns as Gloom Division satirizes everything from youthful excess to Bible-thumping while maintaining an acoustic facade of almost corporate musicality that would fit straight into something like Apple TV’s thriller Severance with its unsettling sterility.

The play between light and dark is at the core of Weekes’ thematics, evident in the songs themselves but also in Gloom Division’s album cover, where he sits dejected under a too-blue sky on too-orange blocks, tar dripping from uncovered feet.

These themes were strongest in “SPKOTHDVL,” “SIXFT” and “Satanic Panic,” which were also my favorite songs from the album. The first has a very traditional rock sound, but the metallic vocals betray a sense of understatement toward the “front page boy,” who is the subject of the song. “SIXFT,” meanwhile, could well be playing in elevators around America if not for the chorus:


Don't push me around

I don't wanna see you buried six feet underground

Fuck around and find out

I don't wanna see you, darling, six feet underground

Six feet underground

Somehow, Weekes turns a pretty intense threat of violence into a lilting, bouncy song for us to bop to.

“Satanic Panic” ridicules the moral outcry of the 1980’s surrounding all that is good with the world: Dungeons & Dragons and rock music, among other things. The speaker’s desperation to save the listener’s soul is diametrically opposed to Weeke’s devil-may-care attitude. The chorus of:

Easy come, easy go

We wanna save your soul

Satanic panic takes it all

Is a certified headbanger, and the energy is sustained throughout.

I have no doubt that Charlotte’s thoughts are more sophisticated than mine. When I relayed my thought to her, she simply replied,

1:34 PM: I like all of them

Thumbnail image courtesy of iDKHOW / Concord Records