The notion of sounding different is always easier said than done. Just ask The Whigs singer-guitarist-keyboardist Parker Gispert regarding his band's recently released sophomore album Mission Control.
When The Whigs first arrived from Athens, Ga., on the music scene in 2006 with their debut, Give 'Em All a Big Fat Lip, the underrated album fell well under the mainstream radar. This, despite it capturing a pop rock sensibility with an indie rock credibility.
More so, the disc offered hints of the garage rock sound without catering directly to the Strokes, White Stripes and Franz Ferdinand zeitgeist. Gispert says the same concerns were prevalent for the recording of Mission Control.
"We felt like a lot of the new songs were a little bit more rocking than the first record," says Gispert, calling from somewhere in Mississippi. "Lots of people look at the studio as a place that you can sort of clean everything up. We kind of saw it as a way to hear the raunchiness or the rocking stuff just clearer, as opposed to hearing real pleasant stuff clearer, or having it be your typical clean recording."
The result was a diverse-sounding album, which features the engaging "Right Hand on My Heart" and the Dave-Grohl-inspired "I Never Want to Go Home."
"Sonically," Gispert says, "it's probably a departure [from Give "Em All a Big Fat Lip]."
When you're on your second studio effort and you're already hearing comparisons to Guided By Voices, Nirvana and even The Beach Boys, things are looking up. Or so believes Gispert regarding the positive press Mission Control has generated so far.
"Obviously, those are some of the greatest bands of all time," Gispert says. "So it's a little humbling, and I hope maybe some way accurate. Those are all good bands. Nobody is comparing us to Everclear or Nickelback."
Whether apologies are in order (or not) for Art Alexakis and Chad Kroeger fans, Gispert's alluding to it being a dangerous time in music to be a non-rock-radio rock band.
Considering Mission Control is a straight-ahead guitar album with hints of garage and mainstream rock, Gispert speaks to the idea that The Whigs are attempting to navigate a channel of coolness surrounded by one clichd and decidedly un-cool iceberg after another.
"That's true I think we're just heading straight towards the iceberg," Gispert says, laughing. "The alternative rock or indie rock or any of that stuff, it's just probably time to freshen up the name.
"I love rock music, that's kind of the music I've grown up listening to and obviously what we play. I think it's probably the least popular genre of music right now. People probably think rock is stupid. I don't know. It is kind of an iceberg right now. It's kind of fun."