Friday, June 10, 2011

Said The Whale - Islands Disappear REVIEW

Islands Disappear is Said The Whale's 2nd full length album and has actually been around for some time now being released back in October, 2009. If you wanted to know where this band was from all you would have to do is listen to their songs - they really make it a point to sing about their country and home of Vancouver, Canada. They just won the 2011 Juno Award for New Group of the Year. Being Canadian myself I almost felt proud when listening to this album, and strangely by the end of it I was a little homesick.

A few months back I was listening to this album with my good friend Jay (Writer here at FPT) and we both kept mentioning all the different bands that seemed to influence Said The Whale's sound. First we could hear a little Fleet Foxes to kick things off with the opener 'Dear Elkhorn' then 'Out on the Shield' it was a different vibe all together and we could really start hearing their Canadian roots kick in with vibes of The Tragically Hip. So onto song 3 'B.C. Orienteering' the sound and vibe is mixed up once again along the same likes as listening to a classic Decemberists song. Although all the outside band influences you would think the songs would be boring and not originally but it has an opposite affect - The songs are strong and original and Said The Whale make them their own entity and really make them their own.

The next song 'Camilo (The Magician)' is a giant pop song that as Jay joked around that it could be looked at right along side a Plain White T's song (Yikes) - I see at more as a Gaslight Anthem type though. Again this band does not limit themselves to a steady/constant sound throughout their album and that is what I liked most about Islands Disappear. It is a band that is passionate about putting their best work together and making an album that is quality one song to the next. 'Emerald Lake, AB' flashes that Canadian Hip sound once again and is a great track.

The next couple of songs 'Islands Disappear' and 'Black Day In December' are slower, darker and a lot more indie sounding then pop sounding. To put this album into a genre it would look something like this pop/rock/indie/Canadian/folk artist. 'Gentleman' is next up and it is a sincere relate able song in many ways.

"I am an uncool Canadian kid
Awed and inspired by all the popular guys
Most of them are truly irresponsible
They do irresponsible things"

Song #9 'False Creek Change' is a folky little song which once again wears the bands country on its sleeves. It is a very fun and refreshing song and is actually one of my favourites off the album. 'A Cold Night Close to the End' is a smooth moving, honest little song that makes you sit back on your chair and think about life. 'The Gift of a Blackheart' has some nice sounding bells that chime in and then some simple lyrics on top of a chilled out melody of sounds. 'Goodnight Moon' is next and the title is one of my favourite children's books that I get to read to my kids. Well the song could be offered as background music while reading the classic kids tale. It is sweet, simple and a very enjoyable song. The last song on the Islands Disappear is 'Holly, ON' and it is a song that really tells a story and closes the album that way - As the last page of a story book.

Said The Whale deliver with a standout sophomore album 'Islands Disappear' and give the listener an album that is truly an honest effort and that can make anyone that listens want to head up to the Great White North. A great effort by this Vancouver band - now if only their hometown hockey team the Canucks, could make Canada as proud and bring home Canada's first Stanley Cup since 1993.

Islands Disappear Track Listing:
1."Dear Elkhorn" – 1:29
2."Out on the Shield" – 2:56
3."B.C. Orienteering" – 4:21
4."Camilo (The Magician)" – 2:53
5."Emerald Lake, AB" – 2:36
6."Islands Disappear" – 2:19
7."Black Day in December" – 2:53
8."Gentleman" – 2:19
9."False Creek Change" – 2:08
10."A Cold Night Close to the End" – 3:02
11."The Gift of a Black Heart" – 3:19
12."Goodnight Moon" – 3:14
13."Holly, Ontario" – 3:11

here is a couple of my favourite tracks from the album, but overall this album is great and should be listened to as a whole.

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