Freelance Whales – Diluvia

by Joseph Dussault (Journalism), published October 22nd 2012

Moldy | Stale | Edible | Fresh | Tasty!

Freelance Whales’ sophomore release Diluvia showcases a far more ambitious band than was shown on their debut. The group’s latest effort is lavish without being pretentious, and feels deeply human despite its complexity. This could be due to the process by which it was written – according to frontman Judah Dadone, “I got it in my head that if I started depriving myself of sound and imagery, that in that absence my brain would want to start producing [music].”

This is an album that utilizes instrumentation in an unusual and compelling way. Here, atmosphere is created organically by musicians, not by filters and out-of-the-box effects. The band’s latest boasts grandiosity, largely thanks to an expanded palette of instruments that includes a horn section, a myriad of percussive elements, and what sounds an awful lot like the pan flute. Diluvia combines the most primitive of sounds with space age atmosphere to create an inimitable sonic experience.

That being said, the greatest success of Diluvia is also its greatest failure. The incredible soundscapes that Freelance Whales create tend to obscure the lyrical content of the album. Indeed, the vocals are used more as a melodic instrument than a vessel for powerful lyrics, as demonstrated by tracks like “Spitting Image.” This is not so much the fault of the lyrics themselves, but rather an unfortunate side effect of Diluvia’s melodic scale. Still, without the support of the written word, the impressive musicality of this album is somewhat wasted.

Diluvia is an album in the old sense of the word, created as a holistic musical experience and intended to be experienced as such. Each track is a continuation of the mood set by its predecessor. There is little mainstream potential in Freelance Whale’s latest. Fortunately, the band’s target subculture – you know the one – will delight in that fact.

Recommended Tracks:  Follow Through,  Spitting Image,  Locked Out

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