Friday, September 13, 2013

Said The Whale: "hawaiii" (album review)

Vancouver's Said The Whale are bound and determined to make sure nobody forgets about them.  How else would you explain the seemingly constant stream of material from the Juno Award-winning band.

The latest entry is the forthcoming full length, hawaiii, out September 17th.

With the new album the quintet continue their evolution from purveyors of harmonic roots music to power pop wizards.  That evolution happens in microcosm on "Narrows", which features a roots/power pop/roots arc.

The breezy, unhurried jangle of "Safe To Say" and the summery "On the Ropes" are pure pop.  The power kicks in on the frenetic summer hit single "I Love You".

Melody always holds a central place in Said The Whale's music.  The most obvious example is "Willow" which drops somewhere on the spectrum between the Beach Boys and Fountains Of Wayne.

Lyrically, things take a more personal turn.  Tracks like the ever-building "Helpless Son" and the album closer "The Weight of the Season", are introspective yet warm.

Things do go off the rails from time-to-time.  The trippy "Resolutions" is a fine experiment until an ill-advised rap interlude near the end.  Despite a great title, "Oh K, Okay" ends up sound a little too close to Len for anyone's liking.

The progression of Said The Whale is making it harder and harder to classify the band.  That's almost always a good thing.  In their case, the possibilities of where they go are nearly limitless after hawaiii.

Said The Whale play the Sound Academy in Toronto on October 10th.

Best tracks: "Mother", "Willow"

Track listing for hawaiii:
  • More Than This
  • Mother
  • Narrows
  • I Love You
  • Safe To Say
  • Resolutions
  • Willow
  • On the Ropes
  • I Could Smoke
  • Oh K, Okay
  • Helpless Son
  • The Weight of the Season

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