On the heels of their 2012 full-length Mumps, Etc., the brothers Yoni and Josiah Wolf of the wordy indie act Why? hatched a complex plan for the Golden Tickets EP. They chose seven lucky winners from a pool of "super fans," folks who frequently purchased merchandise from the Why? webstore. By cyber-stalking these fans' social media pages, and in some cases even secretly calling their friends and loved ones for more accurate details, the Wolf brothers collected information about their fans' lives and wrote "theme songs" for them, unbeknownst to them until the songs were complete and being prepared for release. This outlandish concept falls somewhere between a creepy invasion of privacy and a brilliant statement on the use and misuse of the Internet, but in true Why? fashion, the songs themselves are simply great, regardless of the convoluted circumstances that gave them birth. Yoni's rubbery vocals ride electric piano riffs of hooky and rapidly changing pop tunes, sounding like a hybrid of They Might Be Giants' John Flansburgh, Prince, and Brian Wilson on the brightly structured "Banana Mae." "Murmurer" grabs information from a hapless fans' OK Cupid profile and siphons it into a catchy and building tune that blends Zombies-esque keyboards and eerie marimba. The brief EP of biographical sketches is mostly pop gold, with the exception of the thankfully short faux-dub workout "Dropjaw." While not the most enjoyable listen of the bunch, you get the feeling the musical approach fits the character. Golden Tickets, while both unique and bizarre conceptually, ultimately results in more of the smart songwriting that makes Why?'s proper albums so strong.
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AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas