I Don’t Know How But They Found Me have released their long-awaited debut album – RAZZMATAZZ - and the wait is justified. I Don’t Know How But They Found Me (often abbreviated to iDK How) are a duo comprised of drummer Ryan Seaman and singer and lead guitarist Dallon Weekes, a former Panic! at the Disco member. Named after a line from the iconic 1985 film Back to the Future: ‘They found me. I don’t know how but they found me,’ a lot of their work is based and influenced by the songs, music, and pop culture of the ’80s, hence their name.
Their new album is only 37 minutes in length and 12 songs long, however, each song feels completely different to the next while also feeling completely together. The change from the slower songs on the album such as ‘Nobody Likes The Opening Band’ and ‘Door’ to the more up-tempo and dramatic songs such as the title song ‘Razzmatazz’ and ‘New Invention’ doesn’t feel jarring or out of place.
The influences cited are very clear from the different songs. They claim they are influenced by ‘sixties garage, seventies glam, eighties new wave, and the early days of Britpop.’ However, iDK How, while mainly taking influences from the 80’s, show that they are not just stagnant to one decade. Their song ‘From The Gallows’ is very much reminiscent of the ’60s and ’70s. The verses have a style like Frank Sinatra (specifically his song ‘That’s Life’.) However, there is a harmony at the end of the chorus that is very similar to many Queen harmonies.
For a band that have been around four years, they have completely found their sound and look. Having only released two EPs – 1981 Extended Play and Christmas Drag (listed as a single on their YouTube Music profile) - they have completely nailed what it means to be accomplished. Although their monthly listeners are around 1 million, they are still not as noticed as other bands in the business which is not justified in my opinion. IDK How have perfectly encapsulated what we expect of them with this album, fun and upbeat music with a pinch of sadness and melancholy. They can allow the mood to swift to somewhat sadder topics, and then make you want to dance. This whole album would be perfect in the background of a coming of age film, or Netflix original series.
Personally, I believe this band deserves just as much recognition as bands like Panic! and The 1975, maybe even more so because of how inventive their music is and how hard they work for a duo. They use very futuristic sounds, especially in the song ‘Sugar Pills.’ It sounds very mechanical and electronic rather than human and natural, however, that completely works with the tone they are working towards with this album. This album is perfect for fans of the Talking Heads, Oingo Boingo, Twenty-One Pilots, David Bowie, Panic! at the Disco, Queen, The Killers, Kraftwerk, and just synth-pop enthusiasts. I would recommend this to anyone who needs new music, it’s quickly become a contender for my favourite album of 2020.
Standout songs to me would be (even though it is difficult to choose):
‘Door’ - the song just completely changes the feel of the album, the only downside it’s way too short.
‘From the Gallows’ - the feel of the different decades is so clear and works so well.
‘Clusterhug’- it feels like it could be in Stranger Things or a coming of age film.
‘Leave me Alone’ - a perfect opening to an album like this, can’t think of a better way to start the album.
Overall, this album scores a 9.5/10 - I would give it a 10 but it’s just too short.