You Have To Hear: Freelance Whales

Freelance Whales formed in Queens, New York in late 2008, and have already self-released their debut LP, ‘Weathervanes’. It is refreshing to see a band confident enough to jump straight into releasing their own full length debut, rather than messing around with several EPs and repetitive live shows, trying to find their sound.

And it’s a good thing for everyone that they haven’t delayed in getting their album released: not only is the traditional record still the best way of drawing attention to yourself as a new band, despite all attempts to show otherwise, but ‘Weathervanes’ is a quality, polished album.

And opening for Fanfarlo never hurts, either.

Their sound is an interesting one that involves the mixing of instruments that would not normally be seen in the company of one another. What they have created is effectively intricate, complex pop songs that reveal more after ever listen. Case in point is the album opener Generator ^ First Floor, which starts with the slow build up of sound that eventually unfolds into the beautiful music of a banjo, reminiscent of Sufjan or Broken Social Scene. Indeed this song seems to imitate its own lyrics: just as they sing “Our limbs have been asleep, we need to get the blood back in them,” Freelance Whales slowly build into their own, full-bodied sound.

The banjo/synth combination is a prominent one throughout the album, and it works surprisingly well, just when you thought that only Sufjan could pull it off.

Freelance Whales have spent a lot of time busking on the streets and subways of New York, and witnessing this would be a true experience for sure, but you can’t help but feel these guys are best suited to small venues anywhere around the world. I can already picture seeing them at my personal favourite venue the Corner Hotel here in Melbourne.

‘Weathervanes’ is a great and refreshing album, with the Generator… songs being the highlights, as well as the hypnotic Starring, and the more up-beat Hannah. It bears the trademarks of a debut self-released album, but it is surprisingly polished, especially given the intricate melodies they create.

Freelance Whales are certainly more than a busking band. They are much much more. Hopefully ‘Weathervanes’ will get a bit more attention and these guys will be able to tour more extensively in the near future, because I’d love to see them live. There’s something surreal and beautiful about their music; something intangibly appealing about their sound.

It’s natural and unnatural at the same time, just like the pairing of a banjo with a synth.

Listen if you like: Fanfarlo, Sufjan Stevens, Le Loup, Broken Social Scene, banjos, generators

Edit: Audio not currently working, I will fix this problem as soon as possible.

Artist: Freelance Whales

Song: Generator ^ First Floor

One Response to “You Have To Hear: Freelance Whales”

  1. Hey took your advice and checked this album out…spot on, really refreshing stuff.
    Really loving ‘Location’, ‘Broken Horse’and the weightless ‘We Could Be Friends’. And ‘Kilojoules’ is still rewarding each time I go back to it. Thanks for turning me onto this!

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