Friday, October 05, 2012

Freelance Whales: "Diluvia" (album review)

Brooklyn's Freelance Whales made a name for themselves with the complex, elegant arrangements on 2010's Weathervanes.  On October 9th the quintet return with their sophomore full length Diluvia, which has some obscure geological meaning.

The album opens with the mesmerizing delicate layers of "Aeolus".  Bassist Doris Cellar provides enchanting vocals on "Spitting Image", which weave in and out of the gaps between the Spanish rhythms and rest of the dramatic orchestral rock arrangement.

Electronic effects seemingly launch themselves into outer space on "Red Star" before a forceful beat fills in behind.  Eventually horns break in, taking the show in a completely different direction.  "The Nothing" is another track with an electronic focus, at times sounding the score to an Arthur C. Clarke screenplay.

On more than one occasion Freelance Whales' songs beg for comparisons to other artists.  Guitars are choppy, mixing with methodical percussion and pieced together vocals on "Land Features", creating a Dirty Projectors-like sound.  Between the horns and the twinkling aura (which evokes thoughts of Christmas), "Locked Out" has a Flaming Lips vibe to it.

There are some throwback elements on the album as well.  "Follow Through" is fed through a fuzzy production, giving it a vintage feel.  A banjo helps sweep you away on "Dig Into Waves", and makes another appearance on "Winter Seeds", grounding the otherwise ethereal track.

It's fair to say that Freelance Whales have successfully avoided the sophomore slump with Diluvia.  They have delivered another vibrant piece of art, and at the same time shown a growth in their sound.

Best tracks: "Spitting Image", "Dig Into Waves"

Track listing for Diluvia:
  • Aeolus
  • Land Features
  • Follow Through
  • Spitting Image
  • Locked Out
  • Dig Into Waves
  • Red Star
  • Winter Seeds
  • The Nothing
  • DNA Bank
  • Emergency Exit

No comments: