A Delightful Evolution: Freelance Whales Divulvia
by Charissa Lock
Diluvia – mineral deposits leftover from ancient flowing water and melting glacial ice. This is an album title that captures Freelance Whales’ second album in profound ways. With their first LP, Weathervanes being one of my top albums of all-time, and Freelance Whales having built fandom and notoriety in New York subway stations, automatically places Weathervanes in a category of its own, in glacial proportions. Never again will anyone ever be able to recreate an album with such a fluid and dramatic theme that came through in every instrumentation choice, every note, and every melody on Weathervanes. This cannot be redone, it makes itself comfortably placed among ‘amazing.’ With this being the predecessor one can only have the highest expectations for the sophomore release.
One word response? Different. So different that it is virtually impossible to compare them. Now this isn’t due to some rocker gone rap transition, but rather epic ghostly storyline, to more indie normality. Is this a bad and disappointing movement? Absolutely not. It would be impossible to have another album like their first, so instead appearing as talented and experimental musicians will have to suffice. Sure, some things are similar, like their use of instruments we don’t normally hear, and transitions and melodies that warm the soul, but with a changed theme it feels like a changed atmosphere. This “new” Freelance Whales is more modernized, in the case of synth transitions and instrumental melodies. This modernization is refreshing and compares it to current bands like Animal Kingdom and Paper Route.
Yet, even with its “mainstream” nature, the album is unique and is able to hold its own. With a flooding of positive reviews, this album will be more acceptable to the masses than their first (who was loved by those capable of imagination), and takes on the trend of pulling the female vocals in a bit more than the last time around. With so many talented indie bands housing duel lead vocals (JJAMZ, Stars, The Raveonettes), Freelance Whales doesn’t hesitate to jump the bandwagon. Making for a pleasing dynamic, the intertwining is gentle and flowing, neither sounding forced nor all over the place. Another addition is Judah’s soothing voice, which appears as more pronounced, where he is shedding his ‘characterized’ voice from Weathervanes and is elegantly and beautifully becoming his own.
The quiet build-up resonates from the entire album, as slow and steady drums and almost-whisper vocals send the hairs on your arm at attention without any need for loudness. This is a challenging feat and one done by the power delivered in the emotion and other instrumentation that you may not be realizing you’re even hearing. As the album opens, you are cast into a sultry, deliciously eerie track “Aeolus,” and things continue from there, heading into both faster and slower tempos, male and female vocals, dreamy and dangerous themes, thus creating very enjoyable music.
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