Monday, April 12, 2010

Freelance Whales: "Weathervanes" (album review)

Have you ever wondering what it would sound like if Great Lake Swimmers decided to start playing dream pop?  Me neither.  But after listening to Weathervanes, the debut album from NYC-based Freelance Whales, it's obvious that they have spent many an hour pondering just that.

The album is a delightful concoction of roots music and more ethereal fare.  Banjo plucking seems right at home in the midst of softly textured soundscapes.  While we are treated to the occasional rock excursion, such as the drum-starring "We Could Be Friends", it's really tracks like "Hannah" and "Location" that mesmerize you with layer upon layer of jangle and chime.

The vocals are not forceful, but they are charming.  There's a strong emphasis on melody and harmony, as demonstrated on songs such as "Broken Horse" and the album closer "The Great Estates".  Even "Generator First Floor" and it's nonsensical refrain are vocally seductive.

Weathervanes is one of those rare debut records that not only gets better with repeated listens, but gets better song by song as the album progresses.  It won't be surprising to see this on a lot of year end lists.

Freelance Whales play the Mod Club in Toronto on May 8th with Shout Out Louds.

Best tracks: "The Great Estates", "Hannah"

Track listing for Weathervanes:
  • Generator First Floor
  • Hannah
  • Location
  • Channels
  • Starring
  • Kilojoules
  • Broken Horse
  • Danse Flat
  • Ghostling
  • We Could Be Friends
  • Vessels
  • Generator Second Floor
  • The Great Estates
8.5/10

Freelance Whales' Myspace

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