From their name, I was expecting a band from Chicago that sounded like Sufjan Stevens...not the case. What the Hell Do I Know states Illinois, a quartet hailing from Pennsylvania (oh the irony is so cute). It's a seven song EP of melodic, swaying-in-your-seat worthy indie pop. They're reminiscent of Nada Surf, The Little Ones and The Beta Band, but with a folkie twist due to front man Chris Archibald's banjo skills.
Each song has its own character, with a varying instrument powering each song. The first track starts so soft and tender. "Alone Again," a sincere tune you wouldn't mind running in your head at all times. I almost don't want to do anything else when this one is playing, other than close my eyes and relax. There's many head bopping tunes, including "One on One" and "Screendoor" which make you want to harmonize along with them. You wouldn't be able to tell that a band from up north could come up with "Nosebleed," a banjo-laden song with a drum machine beat. Intriguing. The piano lead "What Can I Do For You" is simple and melodic, and doesn't sound like it's from the same band that just played that banjo track.
Illinois has created a consolidated album of charming sounds. The songs on this album average two minutes and forty-five seconds, but they are so good it leaves you wishing they went on longer. To say the least, this EP is short and sweet, but the good news is that they are currently working on their LP with a label TBD. The EP won't melt your face off, but it'll put a smile on it. Be sure and check them out on tour with The Hold Steady this summer.