Freelance Whales
Weathervanes


4.0
excellent

Review

by Jared Ponton EMERITUS
November 24th, 2009 | 26 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Freelance Whales make for fantastic freelance agents.

The sun is setting. In the Queens borough of New York City, a humble band can be heard playing in café shops that are dotted within the city’s limits. The band is unsigned, relatively unknown, and quite young as the members of the band had just met in late 2008; yet here they are, playing from venue to venue and they have already created their very own debut album. The music they play is nearly an exact replica of their influences, drawing primarily from the indie folk style of Sufjan Steven’s Illinois album and the soothing soft-spoken style of Ben Gibbard in his The Postal Service project. Freelance Whales' Weathervanes is the creation of an unknown band that deserves to be heard and possibly accessed with the most promising of 2009’s music.

Freelance Whales makes use of what the band has quite well: they incorporate various loops, banjos, acoustics, bells, and even whistles throughout the album. It’s surprising that this is the band’s first album in truth as they sound quite skilled at what they do. “Hannah” and “Location” greet listeners earlier on, offering some of the album’s strongest hooks in the conversational style of Judah Dadone's delivery that is coupled with the band's soothing folk arrangements. Three interludes are spaced throughout the album- one seems to follow after every two songs -and these act as a way to connect and coordinate everything in a concise manner. Individually, these tracks amount to no more than mere beeps or bells, but in context of the album, they add to the overall experience. The ten proper tracks here each contain their definable moments and distinctive natures, only growing stronger with repeated listens. On “Staring”, the band stretch the pop aspect of their sound, featuring a synth and upbeat mood that could very well rival the sunny-eyed pop punk bands of today. Elsewhere, “Broken Horse” is a melodramatic lyrical piece with down-scaled instrumentation and contains a mood that happens to be on the opposite side of the spectrum of the aforementioned track. This brings me to another positive about this album: Weathervanes accomplishes the inclusion of a variety of moods and feelings without coming across as too spontaneous or divided during the process.

Sufjan Stevens used to be considered a fairly awful singer; that is, before he received much needed vocal work. This is not the case with the band’s vocalist as Judah Dadone can best be described as a cross between the aforementioned and The Format’s own, Nate Ruess. His tone is calming and soothing, perfectly accentuating the music that the band creates. The timbre of his voice bares the likable quality of remaining and encircling around a listener’s head, even for periods of time that follow long after listens. As he sings the chorus hook of “Hannah”: ”Hannah takes the stairs, Cause she can't tell that, it’s a winding spiral case, Is she right side up, Or upside-down?”, the listener can’t help but smile and realize that this song may remain with them indefinitely. Moments and lines like these dot the album and give it an addictive and pleasing quality that continues to draw the listener back for repeated listens. Along with Mr. Dadone's vocals, the band makes use of a backing style of singers that might brings to mind those featured in Sufjan Stevens own song, “Chicago.” Most of the harmonies and choruses on the album contain the work of these backing vocals, and some of the album’s best moments are when these voices rise to the forefront.“Hannah”, the climatic ending of “Ghosting”, and “Generator ^ Second Floor” all display this beautifully harmonized and soothing effect, and as such, add to the reason why these tracks are highlights.

The fact that this is an excellent debut album can’t escape the fact that the Freelance Whales all but rip-off their respective influences. The hybrid is extremely well-done and promising, but originality and overall relevance do happen to take a backseat. That being said, Weathervane is everything I have said so far: the production, especially given the fact that this is an unsigned band, is crystal clear and magical, and the hooks to be found here represent some of indie pop’s best. Hopefully by this time next year, the band will have caught on and garnered a healthy amount attention as they surely deserve it. As 2009 is coming to a close with a year filled with promising starts and continued quality releases, Freelance Whales are one of the year’s most promising bands and could very well have a very pleasant future ahead of them.



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user ratings (109)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Beauville88 (4)
With thick, expansive melodies and downright amazing creativity, Freelance Whales present one of the...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Ponton
Emeritus
November 24th 2009


6118 Comments


This is my last re-submit. The band is really worth checking out if you like any of the bands I mentioned.

http://www.myspace.com/thefreelancewhales

Digging: Movements - Feel Something

cvlts
November 24th 2009


9423 Comments


not a big Sufjan Stevens fan, but i might check this out based on the other two...

good review as always

Ponton
Emeritus
November 24th 2009


6118 Comments


Thank you Dante. The singer uses Ben's style of singing so hopefully you will like what you hear.

cvlts
November 24th 2009


9423 Comments


the songs off their myspace are prty chill.

VicariousIntent
November 24th 2009


1626 Comments


Excellent review. This seems to be exactly what I'm look for. Based on the way you described it, it'd be quite difficult for it to be more perfect for me. Thank you sir.
Now I just need to find this.

Ponton
Emeritus
November 24th 2009


6118 Comments


Yes, it may be hard to find a physical copy of this since the band are unsigned. You could check cdbaby.com, I think or just hunt around for an online copy.

Waior
November 24th 2009


11630 Comments


Well, well, well; I'd actually enjoy this immensely by the sounds of it. Sublime review, I'll look into this.

Ponton
Emeritus
November 25th 2009


6118 Comments


I actually thought you might like this Caleb; I found these guys on a music blog, and they really think they have a lot of potential.

Kiran
Emeritus
November 25th 2009


6021 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

great review



enjoyable album, some strong stand outs

Ponton
Emeritus
November 25th 2009


6118 Comments


Thanks Kirgasm. You've already seen this review. I decided to have it removed and placed on main account as I no longer want to use the other.

The songs have actually grown on me since then though; even the ones you said you didn't like at first, I find appealing.

Kiran
Emeritus
November 25th 2009


6021 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I enjoy this a lot more than I initially did but I still think it falls flat sometimes.



coincidentally, hannah and starring were stuck in my head for the entirety of a boring 3 hour lab yesterday at uni, made it slightly more bearable

Ponton
Emeritus
November 25th 2009


6118 Comments


Oh yeah, labs are really terrible. My teacher's assistant seems to always be drunk when he is instructing us, and since it is chemistry, it's a bit hazardous.

"Location" and "Generator ^ Second Floor" are really good as well in my opinion. "Starring" is okay, but it got kind of old to me.

Kiran
Emeritus
November 25th 2009


6021 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yeah Location and Generator are both great songs. The Great Estates too. They should've ditched the pointless interludes and scrapped We Could Be Friends and Ghosting!



Anthracks
November 27th 2009


6037 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this album is pretty damn great



broken horse is the standout for me in all its sufjan-worshiping glory



and yeah the interludes are throwaway

Ponton
Emeritus
November 27th 2009


6118 Comments


Yeah it is good. They all but copy their influences, but they definitely do a great job at it.

Kiran
Emeritus
November 28th 2009


6021 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

every time I listen to this I like it more

Ponton
Emeritus
November 28th 2009


6118 Comments


Yeah, same here actually. I'm surprised it has this much lasting value since the hooks seem to be pretty blatant and up front.

Waior
January 26th 2010


11630 Comments


get getting!

sexualsoybean
March 8th 2010


931 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review, I hadnt heard these guys before I saw em with cymbals eat guitars recently and their performance stood up to booth CEG and Bear in Heaven so i was pretty impressed. These guys rotate instruments more than any body else ive ever seen, theyre constantly exchanging guitars/bases/synths/keyboards basically song to song and even bringing new instruments on with each track like banjos and this weird floor box accordian thing the girl played.



Good record, fun band.

supercooper
June 1st 2010


145 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great album and good review, pos'd.



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