I just can’t seem to figure out the talented quartet of musicians known collectively as Whales. Nor can I figure what on God’s musical landscape they are trying to do. Individually they are extremely talented – but when you put them into the studio – they seem to cancel each other out. The listener is the one that suffers here.
The music ranges from progressive darkly textured jazz to jaw-popping-yawn-inducing-navel-gazer. They claim navel gazing as a genre – I am seeing that more and more these days – but just because there is a lot of a genre does that qualify it to be good or necessary. (One genre we could do without is/was boy bands.)
Having said that – Whales and their recent eponymous release has some interesting moments – but they just aren’t strung together with any cogent line that makes me compelled to listen to the rest of the disc. (I – of course – did and I did more than once.)
It is frustrating to hear the hints of what could happen if this group was performing music that is intrinsically interesting or relevant. If they were schlock purveyors, they would be easy to write off and move on, but they clearly work diligently and have created something that is musical and interesting – just not compelling. There are too many things competing for space in my ear – so you’ve got to be compelling.
I would not recommend running out and buying this music part and parcel. Try one song at a time – if you are into navel-gazing or “noise pop.” If you like your music a little more traditional – this isn’t the disc for you.