Multilayered Magic

14 Mar


Freelance Whales has a new CD that’s been very well received by college radio and other outlets that play indie music. The Whales are a band out of Queens, New York founded by Judah Dadone. The band’s 2010 release, “Weathervanes,” not only earned good reviews but its tracks seemed to show up in a variety of other media — from episodes of Covert Affairs and Chuck to ads for Starbucks, Twitter and Chevy.

While the songs from the Freelance Whale’s first album seemed to evoke ghost stories and dreamscapes, the band’s newest, “Diluvia,” is built around space-themed lyrics and multiple layers of image-evoking synthesizer music and sounds. In “Red Star,” we are floating freely on a space walk as Dadone sings, “I don’t wanna jump from this scarlet star tonight, my lost love is floating like a breathless feather…let her nova alone breathing outwards to burn.”

“DNA Bank” opens with electronic sounds that could very well be sampled from the cosmic noise that pervades our universe. The song’s epic length (7:43) allows it to explore the farthest reaches of human evolution, marveling at how “the information we contain pulls us down in a muddy lake, and now we trek endlessly grafting onto anything…”

The strongest tracks on the CD come in the middle of the 11-track set. “Spitting Image,” shines the spotlight on Dadone’s bandmate, Doris Cellar, who takes the lead on what might be the best piece of indie pop Freelance Whales has created. The harmonies soar on synthesizer waves to produce a truly great single. The following track, “Locked Out,” is nearly its equal — offering a melody that opens with Moby-like synth pulses and then layers in the Whales’ trademark banjo and glockenspiel with staccato drumming and eventually tasty horns.

I like “Diluvia” a lot — it’s a CD that I can listen to again and again. Take a listen and let me know what you think…


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