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Album Review | Freelance Whales – Diluvia

[G]one are the ghost stories. Freelance Whales’ new album Diluvia, out today, is — according to the band — “a record about the possibly survival, or peril, of space-faring humans and other arguable fantastical scenarios.” But don’t let that deter you. It sounds a lot more serious than the record actually is. Afterall, the only peril these astronauts could run into would be forgetting to bring

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their banjos and xylophones along for the ride. If Weathervanes was a homecoming, Diluvia is an escape.

In 2009 Freelance Whales released their debut album Weathervanes, an album that sounded like it was recorded in an old, worn house, with tracks that grew louder and louder until they warmed and filled the entire home. The Brooklyn quintet has managed to hold onto this ability to build and layer music, which is undoubtably one of their strengths. What’s different on this album, is the expansive and atmospheric sound, due mostly to the prominence of synthesizers on every track. Of course, there was plenty of synthy pop on their last album. But for every track or chorus that featured synths and electronic sounds, a banjo, glockenspiel, xylophone or clapping answered back. On Diluvia, there’s hardly a track that doesn’t bring the electronic sounds to the front.

Follow Through, starts off with the usual building of ambient noises. Then Judah Dadone’s vocals come in and the synthesizers build around him to a chorus that sounds like it’s straight out of the 80s. Though in their defense, I believe that is a bit of banjo I can hear tinkering in the background. But somehow this all works — as most Freelance Whales tracks do — and captures both the unknown and the fantastic.

Another new feature of Diluvia is that there are more tracks with Doris Cellar exclusively on lead vocals. Splitting Image puts Cellar’s vocals on display, with a chorus of ‘hoo-hoo’-ing harmonies. And then again on Winter Seeds, which is a much slower track, it is the banjo and accompanying harmonies that balance out Cellar’s airy vocals. In fact, it seems quite a shame that we didn’t get much of Doris’ lead vocals before this point. Judah’s back for the floating Red Star, and quite frankly, his vocals sound better than ever on Diluvia. It sounds like he’s toned down the ‘cute’, which is definitely a good thing.

In the end, Freelance Whales have swapped their clatter for a more atmospheric sound, and if you’re up for 53 minutes of soaring tunes about light beams and rations to go anywhere, this album is a success. The band is out touring in support of their new album, and will stop by Boston in early November. Check out the rest of the tour dates below:


Review | Freelance Whales at Paradise Rock Club

Day Off

words & photo by: Courtney Leigh Allen

Freelance Whales at Paradise Rock Club

The crowd Monday night at the Paradise Rock Club showed up early. Actually, it’s entirely possible that they showed up just for the openers, Freelance Whales. Even half an hour before the Queens-based quintet was set to go on, the place was packed.

The sold-out Foals show was supposed to start off with a set by Naked and Famous, but due to illness, they had to pull out. Luckily for the Freelance Whales fans in the audience, it meant we got to listen to a fifty-minute set by group.

The entire crowed roared when Kevin, Chuck, Jacob, Judah and Doris came onto the stage. They opened with Generator ^ First Floor, which I contend is one of the best opening songs for any band ever. It starts with just noise, but slowly builds into a harmonic and melodic gem. “We get up early just to start cranking the generator,” Judah, the lead vocalist, croons. Freelance Whales know how to warm up a crowd just as well as they know how to warm up an cold, decrepit, haunted house.

They played almost every song off their debut album Weathervanes, rotating instruments for each tune. Each band mate plays at least three instruments. One song they’ve got Judah on lead vocals and synthesizer, but later he moves to banjo, as Doris takes over the synth. The next song has Doris on the glockenspiel, Chuck on the guitar and Kevin on the bass. Then Chuck is back on the mandolin and Kevin on the electric guitar. It goes on and on.

The band got loud cheers for more than a few of their songs. Hannah, Broken Horse and Kilojoules were house favorites. Freelance Whales really is that band that you know you love. But then you see the live, for the first, second or third time, and you’re always reminded just how much you love them.

The band has had a hectic last few years. Their debut album was released in April of last year, and they’ve been touring since then. Add to that last summer’s festival circuit and a cameo with the PS22 Chorus, they’ve been busy. But after this tour, which ends next week in Rhode Island, they’re hitting the studio to record their sophomore album. Here’s to hoping it’s full of more ghost stories.

The band continues the tour:


Tonight | Freelance Whales at the Paradise

words by: Courtney Leigh Allen Day Off Enzymes If you’re partial to the night sky, or vaguely attracted to rooftops, you should probably be headed to the Paradise tonight to catch Freelance Whales. And arrive early because the five-piece band from Queens, New York is opening for the English indie rock band Foals. It’s been over a year since Freelance Whale’s debut album Weathervanes was released, so if I had to guess, I’d say that there’s an excellent chance that tonight we’ll get to hear some of their new stuff. They’ve released at least two singles, Enzymes and Day Off, in…

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Freelance Whales – Day Off

Day Off Freelance Whales, the 5-piece band from Queens, NY, have been hard at work lately releasing single after single.  They haven’t mentioned a new album (that I know of) yet keep producing fantastic new music. This may be released as a follow up to their album Weathervanes which is a fantastic album definitely worth the $5.99 it garners on Amazon.

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Freelance Whales – Enzymes (Video)

Check out the video for Freelance Whales’ single, Enzymes.  This has been one of my favorite tracks they have released, and spurs an all day listen fest every time I hear it.  If you haven’t already, they are offering it for free download on Green Label Sound’s website.

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New Song | Freelance Whales – Enzymes

Enzymes Freelance Whales, the 5-piece band from Queens, NY, have been hard at work on a new single that they are sharing for free.  The track is called “Enzymes” and is being released on Green Label Sound. This may be released as a follow up to their album Weathervanes which is a fantastic album definitely worth the $5.99 it garners on Amazon.


Freelance Whales new video for ‘Hannah’

Freelance Whales finally released a video for their fantastic synth(y) track ‘Hannah.’  This was an instant favorite of mine on the album, Weathervanes, which was re-released in April. Buy Weathervanes Website |  Twitter | Facebook |  Myspace

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Jukebox the Ghost’s Empire remixed by Freelance Whales

Empire (Freelance Whales Remix) Philadelphia’s piano based rock trio Jukebox the Ghost is prepping their new album Everything Under the Sun, due out September 7.  Their released single, Empire, has been remixed by Freelance Whales, and it’s a really interesting sound.  I’m really looking forward to sinking my teeth into their new album, but I guess this will just have to tide me over for now. Hear the original: Empire. Grab the preorder for the album.

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