Freelance Whales: Weathervanes

posted by dpm on 10/18/2011


The story thread is easy enough—The inculpability of puppy love befalls a young boy when he begins to catch fleeting glimpses of the youthful phantasm innocently haunting his every dream.  If that isn’t enough, the young lad begins to daydream what will become of their “relationship” in his afterlife.  Deep thoughts for a pre-adolescent, wouldn’t you say?  Fear not, this bittersweet tale of unripened existentialism prevails solely on the stately freshman long play, Weathervanes, as a result of four highly imaginative street musicians that call themselves Freelance Whales.  

It’s hard to place my thumb on just what it is about this album that struck me first—it could’ve been any one of a myriad of subtleties.  Perhaps it’s because I rarely enjoy a band that relies heavily on the banjo (i.e. I’m a diehard, 3-chord punk rock brat), or maybe it’s the flawless harmonics, silly lyrics, or the squabbling cacophony of kiddy instruments (yes, they manage to pull off champion xylophones!)   You see, with such inventive complexity, it’s hard not to enjoy these NYC re-purposers. 

So much for standout cuts, my friends—collectively, this album is as rich as dark chocolate and as unique as any poetry in Where the Sidewalk Ends.  Comparisons are hard, though if I had to liken it to a genre (or genres, for that matter), I’d say it’s a mixed bag of folk, pop and electronica (think The Postal Service and Ra Ra Riot fathering a child with Fleetwood Mac), that, combined, spawns a cornucopia of some of the happiest music out there.      

Before dropping the whopping $7.99, sample the lightly battered and candid “Hannah”, the honey-coated harmonizing of “Location”, and the beautifully arranged lullaby, “Ghosting”, all worth $7.99 alone.  And to all you people of the vertical world—don’t be afraid to like something as family-friendly as this.  It’ll only help break the ice when meeting your future in-laws!        

-Christopher Duca