The Whereabouts are the kind of act it’s hard to write about, but easy to enjoy: A straight-ahead rock band, rooted in album-oriented classic rock and all that classic rock itself is rooted in. Whether they know that or not.
Ice Cream Desire is a collection of songs recorded not as studio concoctions, but as the sound of four guys playing and singing together. No gimmicks, no post-production — well, none that you can tell — and no artistic overreach at the expense of an easy good time.
Singer CJ Hazard’s voice harkens back to a time before auto-tune (he doesn’t need it) and multitracking (he doesn’t want it.) Songs like “Gypsy King” and “Misty Mauve” beg to be listened to in a bar where you can still smoke — the sheer length of the raw, lyrical guitar solo on “Misty” is an act of bravery in 2016. The band will tell you their current fave is “Truth or Dare,” an all-out arena rocker.
Formed late in 2012 in Laguna Niguel, California, The Whereabouts have played the run of SoCal venues where clubgoers still show up to listen than to be listened to, to see rather than be seen. These four guys — Hazard, bassist Tim von Gremp, drummer Andy Gardikas, and freshly returned founding guitarist Andrew Talley — have at least six feet of hair between them. But poseurs they are not.
Produced and engineered by CJ Hazard, largely in Gardikas’ home studio, Ice Cream Desire begs to be played in the car, just as the band begs to be seen live. At a time when rock’n’roll has become an ironic term, and bands have been replaced by wannabe celebrities whose live appearances are scripted marketing events, The Whereabouts want to remind you what rock music was all about in the first place: Not an onramp to Hollywood, but a road trip to wherever we end up.
-Paul Boutin, music producer, Los Angeles