2010 CRAM: Freelance Whales – Weathervanes

by mikeflanagan1

Each day before the end of 2010, I will be reviewing albums that I neglected when I was busy listening to The Band all year (again). This is the diary of my struggle to form my year-end list with dozens of 2010 albums still unclicked in my iTunes library.

Freelance Whales‘s debut LP amalgamates everything that ever imposed negative connotations on every genre of music. It has the pretentious intent of ‘indie’, the immaturity of pop-punk, the seemingly undesigned simplicity of modern country, and the goddamn cutesiness of ’emo’.

Now, as for the aforementioned genres that actually exist in any realm other than the ignorant, uneducated minds of disillusioned suburban kids (all of them except me, of course…), their stereotypical features can be and often are used tastefully. Weathervanes, however, displays a very base and primitive understanding of the different branches of music. It’s filled with wasted, inconsequential synth sounds and self-indulgent harmonies. Still, it manages to be cluttered and oversimplified simultaneously; the muddled instrumentation only highlights the intermediacy of the song structures. The banjo seems both unapt and unnecessary thrust into arrangements obviously crafted for electronic coddling and artificial-sounding acoustic guitar.

But what gets me the most is the unbearably cute, downright ingratiating lyrics. Frontman Judah Dadone cloys with his saccharine whine as he sings obvious lines like:

Do me this solid
If you would pretty lady
Please grab me a martini
And meet me on the balcony
I’ve prepared a light show
You could fake a melody
We could argue over where and when
the cymbal hits should be

Apparently there was a decent amount of buzz about this band earlier in the year. Besides the fact that I recognized the name (as a band I probably would be correct to judge unfairly, but that’s besides the point), I must’ve been in the same cave where I didn’t hear about Lady Gaga until last year. The best thing about Freelance Whales is that their name comes up right before Frightened Rabbit in my iTunes library, so the first chords of “Things” came on right after Weathervanes mercifully ended just in time to keep me from jumping out my window and shattering my shinbones just for something else to do.

ODDS: ZERO. Not a fucking chance in hell.