iDKHow dazzles with debut album “Razzmatazz”

Photo courtesy of Sekyaw, Wikipedia

On Friday, Oct. 23, I Don’t Know How But They Found Me, often referred to as iDKHow, released their debut album, “Razzmatazz.” It comes nearly three years after Dallon Weekes and Ryan Seaman, former members of Panic! At the Disco, announced the band’s existence.

They established iDKHow as more than a band through cryptic posts and videos on social media platforms, gradually building their project’s lore. It began with a YouTube video of a boy finding old VHS tapes in his basement about an old band that never got its big break. Upon examination, strange details become obvious, such as the mysterious production company called TELLEX, and the ambiguous white figures standing in several shots.

The passion Weekes and Seaman have for iDKHow shines through every song on “Razzmatazz.” The album blends electronic rock with indie and alternative sounds to create a genre that can turn from vengeful to tender and back again at a moment’s notice, taking listeners on an unforgettable journey.

“Leave Me Alone” makes a strong introduction with a synth beat and a sense of bitterness that are equally infectious. The lyrics signify the singer’s desire to start a new chapter in life, and Weekes stated the song was intended to inspire fans to have the courage to do the same, rather than continue to deal with the same abuse.

Both “Leave Me Alone” and “Mad IQs” are sung to an unnamed antagonist from the singer’s past. The songs express a desire to leave the person and their toxic behavior behind. Fans have theorized certain lines could be references to Brendon Urie, whom both members of iDKHow used to work with, but this remains unconfirmed.

Although the album marks a new era in Weekes’ and Seaman’s musical careers, it also contains updated versions of their old creations, dating as far back as 2012 when the two played in The Brobecks. As someone who listened to “Clusterhug” on repeat throughout middle school, I loved the 2020 version’s stronger vocals and updated lyrics.

The new song “Need You Here” is another pleasant surprise. iDKHow’s fictional identity as an old band with a past steeped in conspiracy drops away as Weekes sings about how he loves his children and misses them when work gets in the way. The lyrics “There is no other place in this world that I'd rather be / If I can't be at home then I'll send my apologies / To you” hit me particularly hard, as did hearing his daughter at the end saying, “That makes me happy.”

“Lights Go Down” is the fundamental opposite in both tone and content, but what it lacks in sentimentality it makes up for with eccentricity. If you are currently crafting the perfect Halloween playlist, lyrics such as "Not every hollow is sleepy as this one / The heads just roll the same" make it a must-add.

The album ends as strong as it started with the title track “Razzmatazz.” The singer critiques the influence of greed, fascism and narcissism in the music industry and the world today. He invites the listener to cast off all superficialities and enjoy a night of “That good old fashion razzmatazz.”

The past three years have been filled with hype as Dallon Weekes and Ryan Seaman relentlessly promoted their new band, but “Razzmatazz” still managed to shatter expectations. It is perfect both for longtime fans of the two musicians and for anyone interested in music that manages to haunt you, hold you and make you hope all at the same time.

5/5 stars