Day 10: Freelance Whales – Weathervanes

10 Mar


What is it about the banjo? That hillbilly instrument makes everything sound better, Freelance Whales included.  Not that they need it, though.  Weathervanes sounds a bit like Illinois-era Sufjan Stevens mixed with the Postal Service, which is definitely a good thing.

With Weathervanes, Freelance Whales were able to pull something special off.  They successfully mixed the sensitive instrumentals and vocals of folk music with the forceful, rhythmic bleeps and bloops of electronic music, and managed to make a sound all their own.

Freelance Whales really shine on their upbeat, fast-tempo songs.  Tracks like Hannah, Generator ^ First Floor, and Starring are definitely standouts on the album.  These songs are where that mix of electronic and folk sounds really get to show off.  Banjo and synths blend beautifully, with some electric guitar riffs thrown in there for good measure.

That’s not to say that Freelance Whales can’t handle a slower song either.  While listening to the album, I was thinking “this sounds a bit like Sufjan” early on, but the song Broken House is where I knew that Sufjy must have influenced them quite a bit.  I couldn’t stop thinking of Casimir Pulaski Day while listening to that song.  I think it’s the delivery of the vocals—a higher pitch, sung very calmly, but very passionately.

Ultimately, Freelance Whales only fall flat a few times, on tracks like Ghosting and The Great Estates. These songs are pretty boring and repetitive, and tend to go on for a bit too long.  These are easily overlooked, though, when the rest of the album is considered.


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