I Don’t Know How But They Found Me, whose name is often shortened to IDK How, officially started their musical journey back in 2017; however, that was far from the first time either member had been involved in the music scene. Bassist Dallon Weekes and drummer Ryan Seaman started off their IDK How career in secrecy due to their involvement with other bands. Prior to playing in IDK How, Weekes was the bassist for Panic! At the Disco and Seaman was the drummer for Falling in Reverse. Because of their connections to larger groups, they chose to create IDK How from the ground up, starting with smaller shows and hiding the project from social media. However, it didn’t take long for fans to catch on, and soon they began rising in popularity.
While the group has released two EP’s; 1981 Extended Play in November 2018, and Christmas Drag in November 2019, their October 2020 release of Razzmatazz marked their first full-length album. With a runtime of roughly 40 minutes and a 12 song tracklist, the album brings in a new aspect to their music, while matching the ‘80s-like tone of their previous releases.
Prior to the full-album release, IDK How put out four songs as singles: “Leave Me Alone,” which sported a very fitting music video for the current COVID world we’re living in; “New Invention,” one of the darker toned songs of the album; “Razzmatazz,” the title track whose music video looks straight out of MTV; and “Lights Go Down,” an upbeat and catchy dance song.
Much of the album carries on the band’s ‘80s synth-pop sound, while a few tracks, such as “Kiss Goodnight” and “Door,” bring in more soft-sounding elements reminiscent of songs from Weekes’ prior project, The Brobecks. One direct connection the group makes to The Brobecks comes in the song “From the Gallows.” The track has a very jazzy, older sound to it, but is interrupted in the middle by an odd robotic voice. However, this voice isn’t new to the band, but rather has been a staple at IDK How live shows. At their shows, the band often sings the Brobecks song “A Letter,” featuring the same robotic voice. While this connection doesn’t change the way the song is understood, it’s a nice nod that many fans will understand.
The album only features one previously released song, “Nobody Likes The Opening Band” a comedic yet realistic take on what opening bands go through when playing a show. The music video for the song, which was released in February 2018, was featured in an article by Alt. Press and launched the band into the spotlight.
Personally, my favorite song on the album is “Clusterhug,” a sweet and heartfelt love song that I fell in love with from the first time I listened to the album. Weekes starts off the song with the lines “I’m a teenage beauty queen of sorts,” an interesting and attention-grabbing beginning to a song which dives into the idea of loving someone, but not knowing if they reciprocate those feelings.
Although not necessarily one of my favorite tracks, the tenth song on the album, “Need You Here,” is one that shouldn’t get overlooked. Right from the beginning you understand the story it’s telling; the difficult reality that many musicians, Weekes included, must face when pursuing their career: leaving their family in order to tour for fans. This song, which feels very personal tonally and lyrically, depicts this struggle from not only Weekes’ point of view but also from that of his daughter, who has a cameo in the song. Although the song portrays feelings of sadness and longing, it also has this immense sense of love, which gives the track a very heartfelt and warm tone.
Throughout the album, IDK How does a good job of keeping consistent. While roughly half the songs are upbeat and something you’d hear on the radio, the other half bring in a slower sound. Every song does a nice job complementing the others, while constants such as an emphasis on a more vintage sound, tie everything together and make it uniquely IDK How. If you’re looking for an album to dance the night away to or just some good old-fashioned Razzmatazz, I Don’t Know How But They Found Me has got you covered.