Origin of What is Tyvek's third album for In the Red Records, arriving four years after 2012's On Triple Beams, with numerous limited cassettes appearing in between. On this album, singer/guitarist Kevin Boyer continues to lead an ever-shifting lineup, including longtime members such as bassist Larry Williams and guitarist Heath Moerland. As with On Triple Beams, the album was recorded by Fred Thomas, who also plays drums on all but two songs. Since the group first appeared around 2006, they've been one of Detroit's finest sources of blistering garage punk, and while their lineup has varied on seemingly every recording or gig, they've still maintained an immediately recognizable sound. Their music has always been tense, paranoid, and urgent, but over the years, Boyer's abstract, poetic lyrics have become more pointed and concerned. On Triple Beams dealt with Detroit's gentrification, and Origin of What is more conscious about the world at large. On anthemic opener "Tip to Tail," he's alarmed by helicopters and newspaper headlines, and on the shaky "Mirror Image Of," he's concerned with the environment and energy usage, while the lengthy title track laments the decline of the Euro. On several of the album's tracks, the band's basic guitar/bass/drums lineup is surrounded by trippy dub echo and delay effects, enhancing the group's attack rather than obscuring it. Following the furious "Tyvek Chant" that appears to be blasted from an AM radio receiver, the vastly more relaxed "Underwater 3" gently proclaims "No limits, smash limits" over splashy drums, upfront bass, and calming keyboards. Tyvek's music is hopeful even as it expresses sheer panic and tension, and it manages to turn frustration into a celebratory release.
AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson