White Whale

White Whale

White Whale

WW1

Merge

This unprecedented shift of contemporary rock bands toward the tropes of classic and prog rock is a head scratcher. On the Decemberists’ new one, the humble folk strums have been supplanted by Fripptronics and Midlake’s admittedly excellent Van Occupanther disc owes more to late-‘70s Fleetwood Mac than nearly any other musical forerunner. Ditto WW1, on which former members of Butterglory and emo-est of emo, Get Up Kids, plunder David Bowie’s and Marc Bolan’s glam years and set them on a high seas adventure.

Ramshackle ballads like Arcade Fire-esque “The Admiral” creak and spark alongside inexplicable ethnic weirdness like “I Love Lovely Chinese Girl,” which owes a debt to Colin Meloy’s globe-wandering character studies. Boasting perfect arrangement and melodies, “What’s An Ocean For?” and “One Prayer” are definitely mix tape bound. Not everything in the band’s cannon is smooth though. The sticky/sweet synth bass on “We’re Just Temporary Ma’am” gums up the works of an otherwise fine song. The same can be said of the breakbeat garnish on the verses of “Fidget and Fudge,” it’s a poor complement to the space opera unfolded in the song’s choruses. At times singer Matt Suggs’ effete delivery feels too weak to suit the music when it strives for rockier waters. In the end, it’s a minimal complaint. These guys are already steering themselves in the right directions, it would be too much to ask for them to have already arrived at perfection. White Wale are closer to that goal than bands that have been around much longer.

Merge Records: http://www.mergerecords.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Halloween Nuggets

    Halloween Nuggets (Liberation Hall). Review by Charles D.J. Deppner.

  • RoboCop Steelbook
    RoboCop Steelbook

    Computerized police work in 1987? What could possibly go wrong? Carl F. Gauze reviews.

  • Memoria
    Memoria

    Winner of the Jury Prize of the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria subtly draws viewers into a connective reality shaped by the sounds and images emerging from the unknown. Lily and Generoso share their thoughts on the film, currently touring North America.

  • Say Goodnight, Gracie
    Say Goodnight, Gracie

    Lose a job? Eh, there’s always another one. Review by Carl F. Gauze.

  • New Music Now 007: crêpe girl
    New Music Now 007: crêpe girl

    Episode 007 features new music by Jack White, Snail Mail, and crêpe girl, and 2 sweet Yoko Ono covers from Stephin Merritt and Deerhoof. Stick around for joy!

  • Hot Water Music
    Hot Water Music

    Feel The Void (Equal Vision Records). Review by Charles D.J. Deppner.

  • Watcher
    Watcher

    Chloe Okuna’s new thriller Watcher is an immersive journey into fear. Review by Phil Bailey.

  • From Here
    From Here

    A mass shooting changes the world, but not the people in it.

  • True West
    True West

    Two brothers attempt to get into movies without killing each other. It’s a close call.

  • In The Heights
    In The Heights

    A lottery ticket and a blackout shift a man’s life in the New York Hispanic community.

From the Archives