Thursday, June 23, 2011
REVIEW: Black Whales -- Shangri-La Indeed
We profiled Seattle psychedelic/garage rockers Black Whales earlier this year as an emerging Seattle band with a sound and energy we really liked. Happily for us and their other fans, the guys are releasing a new LP, Shangri-La Indeed, on June 28. For me, it is just what the doctor ordered: Reverby guitars crunching and jangling over a driving rhythm section and showcasing a very good set of songs. This band really should be better known, and I hope this album helps them break through.
You can stream select songs from the album here:
Sequencing an album is a tricky but important art. Black Whales got that task right by opening the album with the title track, "Shangri-La Indeed". From the opening strains I knew I was going to give the full album a chance. But first I hit the repeat button for "Shangri-La Indeed" a few times. All in the name of research, of course.
The members of Black Whales are Alan, Alex, Dave, Davey and Ryan, and clearly they have a good working relationship. The vocals and instruments are spot on and there is no sign of growing pains. And the production is clean and clear. Overall, it has the timeless feel of classic American power pop that never goes out of style. I liked all of the tracks on the album, but my favorites, in addition to the title track, are "Walking in the Dark", "Young Blood", "Rattle Yer Bones", and "Elephant #2". Although if you asked me tomorrow, the answer might change.
While I normally don't get involved with such details, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that the band is offering a "half price sale" on the album. If you order now, you get three tracks immediately. On June 28 you'll get the download code for the remaining tacks and the CD will be shipped. You pay $5.00 in total. Details are on their website.
We'll close with a live acoustic version of one of the album tracks, "Young Blood":