Listening to Alopecia is like witnessing a person’s inevitable unraveling. The swagger of slow hip hop beats, minor key melodies and deadpan vocals all seem to provide evidence of damage and depression. But, luckily, Minneapolis-based Why? isn’t so afflicted that you can’t enjoy them.

Alopecia overflows with high energy and dark humor, melded to rolling rhymes and dynamic rhythms, even in all their sludginess. “Vowels Pt. 2” is haunted with the doom-like clank of chains with frontman Yoni Wolf setting the album’s tone by wryly singing, “I’m not a ladies’ man, I’m a landmine, filming my fake death.”

Part of the album’s appeal is the utter discomfort of Wolf’s subject matter. In “Simeon’s Dilemma,” he begins with the romantic line, “You’re the only proper noun I need,” and ends with “stalker’s my whole style, and if I get caught I’ll deny, deny, deny…”

The album’s lyrics are richly spun together and poetic, even while the content is often as basic as porn and a hangover. And despite hardcore imagery and a preoccupation with death, Wolf provides junctures of relief, as in “Fatalist Palmistry,” where he admits, “I am still alive, in love and wide-eyed in my time.” (Erika Fredrickson)

Why? plays the Badlander Monday, April 14, with Elf Power and Broadband Shortwave at 9 PM. $7.
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