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MusicUnderFire | April 16, 2014

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Great Vibes and Musical Tales From ‘Said The Whale’

Great Vibes and Musical Tales From ‘Said The Whale’
Cynthia

Fresh new music is always a welcome respite from the dark days of winter, so here’s a little good cheer to help you let your inner kid come out and play. Said The Whale‘s new Fall Sampler release is a great way to get acquainted with this talented, playful and innovative soft-rock Indie band from Vancouver, BC.

First, a little history. Said the Whale first formed in 2007 via a solid musical partnership between Tyler Bancroft and Ben Worcester, who released the EP “Taking Abalonia” at that time. A second album, “Islands Disappear,” was released in 2009, and they toured the U.S. for the first time two years later. 2011 was also the same year they received the Juno Award for New Group of the Year. They released “Little Mountain,” a tasteful collection of folk-pop songs including several with a Vancouver, BC theme, in March of this year.

Appealing folk-rock feel, great lyrics and natural-world imagery

Their new sampler opens with the happy vibe of “The Light is You” from their “Taking Alabonia” release. It’s a fine, folk-rock toe-tapper that, like most of the other tracks here, features warm harmonies nestled within fun, inviting arrangements. What’s more, Said The Whale’s lyrics and imagery often evoke themes of the natural world and the great outdoors – just what we’ve a hankering for during winter’s dark doldrums.

“What a fine life we are living” boasts the chorus in the next track, “Emerald Lake,” commencing to prove it with pleasing guitar work, great momentum and the most fun we’ve had since summer camp. If there’s a real “Emerald Lake” somewhere, we’re ready to jump in. As appealing as it is, seems plausible “Emerald Lake” could be a shoe-in for use in a movie or television soundtrack.

Speaking of water play, “Strong Swimmers” is possibly the most exceptional track here. Recounting a special day with that certain-someone, the sweet, solid, touching voice of lead vocalist Tyler Bancroft and a short Beatle-esque harmony on the chorus are a perfect combination to win over new listeners.

Video: Strong Swimmers

“Jesse, AR,” about a hapless / hopeless romantic wanderer from the album “Little Mountain,” is a bolder musical journey but no less fun. Smooth harmonies are nicely mixed – and, bravo to skillful drummer Spencer Schoening for supplying the song’s great, commanding thunder.

Video: Jesse, AR

The pleasantly meandering “Big Wave Goodbye” opens with bold harmonies, then adds gentle musical touches and flourishes, and builds to a big, party-like, almost Mardis Gras conclusion you’ll love.

Said The Whale are comprised of: Ben Worcester, guitar, vocals; Tyler Bancroft, guitar, vocals; Spencer Schoening, drums; Nathan Shaw, bass; and Jaycelyn Brown, keyboards.

Goodnight Moon – A Great Closer

The new sampler closes with the innocent appeal of “Goodnight Moon,” a cozy love song built around themes of the book by the same name, from their “Islands Disappear” album. Like “Emerald Lake,” it has a cool cinematic quality; maybe the band should market their stuff to Hollywood?

In any event, “Goodnight Moon” and the other tracks here demonstrate well how a lot of fancy synthesizers or mixing aren’t a requirement for leaving listeners with a lasting impression – strong musicianship and well-crafted arrangements take care of that, and usually, stand the test of time.

Music by Said The Whale is available on iTunes. You can also purchase “Little Mountain,” their latest release, here.

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