Wicca Phase Springs Eternal creates an eclectic cluster of mope | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Wicca Phase Springs Eternal creates an eclectic cluster of mope 

click to enlarge Wicca Phase Springs Eternal (Adam McIlwee)

Wicca Phase Springs Eternal (Adam McIlwee)

Courtesy the Artist

When it comes to depressing music, Adam McIlwee is a jack of all trades. From 2005 to 2013 he was a founding member of influential emo-rock band Tigers Jaw, before moving on to explore equally downbeat rap, trap, and electronica in the loose collective GothBoiClique with collaborators who’ve included the late Lil Peep. Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, which McIlwee launched in 2010, is his one-man conglomeration of mope—an exercise in eclectic evocations of the same sad affect. “Together,” the opening song on his latest album, February’s Suffer On (Run for Cover), starts with acoustic strumming under McIlwee’s nasal mumble (“I wish that I could pay someone to buy me a drink”) before a basic trap beat slumps in to make his misery feel even more inescapably rote. The album’s title track is mostly minor ambient keyboard pulses, with trap rhythms sneaking in for the chorus before apologetically backing out again. “Just One Thing” opens with electronic bass and drum programming, and when McIlwee takes the chorus, he blares his bleak laments like a human fire-engine siren. Through it all, the record’s sonic depiction of depression is so elaborate it’s exhilarating. With sly creativity that recalls the spirits of Morrissey and Leonard Cohen, McIlwee makes it fun to be sad.   v

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