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Said The Whale’s “Islands Disappear”

by K. B. Abele on November 11, 2009

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 Said The Whale, photo by: Vanessa Heins

Said The Whale, photo by: Vanessa Heins

Said The Whale, hailing from the ever-blossoming music town of Vancouver, British Columbia, released their sophomore album last month on Hidden Pony Records. As I was a quick fan to one of their earlier singles “The Light is You,” I was eager to get my hands on the album and check it out. The band’s upbeat sound and amazing energy never fails to leave me wanting more, and all this just from their records! I’m still waiting my turn to catch these guys live.  (Hint: please come to NYC soon!)

The band officially formed just over 2 years ago when songwriters Ben Worcester and Tyler Bancroft decided to embark on a new collaborative effort together, along with Spencer Schoening, Peter Carruthers, and Jaycelyn Brown. They released the updated version of their debut EP, “Howe Sounds/Taking Abalonia,”  in 2008 which quickly became a fan favorite and made the first indentation on the indie music circuit, especially in Canada.

With “Islands Disappear,” it is clear that this quintet is gunning to truly bust through the scene. With catchy folk-driven beats, gritty guitar riffs, airy melodies, and wailing woeful ballads like the title track “Islands Disappear,” the album is an entertaining mind-trip into the lives of these musicians, one that is incessantly pleasing to the ear. The band worked with producers Howard Redekopp (Tegan and Sara, The New Pornographers, Mother Mother) and Tom Dobrzanski (Hey Ocean!, The Zolas), which is clearly evident as the album shares the well-rounded sound found on both Tegan and Sara and Hey Ocean!’s new albums.

The first single off the album “Camilo (The Magician)” is a song that demands to be blared at full volume, despite the pitfalls of grouchy neighbors, cold weather (windows down while driving), or the awkward subway stares. There is no way to avoid it though, so why fight it?

Other standouts from the album include “Emerald Lake, AB”,  the charmingly romantic ” A Cold Night Close to the End”, and the bluegrass-y folk tune of  “False Creek Change,” which very well may be my favorite song on the album. Although, most people will probably be drawn to down right catchy, super uptempo “Out On the Shield,” that is driven by propulsive guitar rhythms more in the vein of indie rock than folk.

Overall, “Islands Disappear” is a solid album; Said The Whale beat the sophomore album slump and delivered a powerful EP that does well to be heard in its entirety. The band is finishing up their crazy tour schedule of the past few months but if you happen to be in Vancouver, be sure to check their upcoming shows on their MySpace page.

Check out their video for “The Light is You”:

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