A.V. Club: Said the Whale

We’d be buried in the water in the summer
We’d be leaning on lake tides and lilies

We’ve got the biggest hearts

— “Strong Swimmers,” Said the Whale

Vancouver-based indie rock  band Said the Whale released their second full-length album Islands Disappear in late 2009. The band, begun as a collaboration between songwriters Ben Worcester and Tyler Bancroft, raises bubblegum folk to an art form and creates ukulele love songs. In its current incarnation, the band is a five-piece line-up.

Islands Disappear, from description on the band’s website, “draws on the experience of driving across Canada, from the van breaking down in Manitoba to camping in Alberta.  With stylistic forays that include backwoods folk and danceable ukulele/glockenspiel rave-ups, it’s the sound of a band coming into its own, delivering on the promise of its early recordings.”

The first single from the album, “Camilo (The Magician)” is a conglomeration of traditional rock n’ roll power chords and a sunny power pop chorus. The track is a catchy sing-a-long for romping in the summer sun. The video is positively adorable and is the perfect pairing for the single’s pleasant and finger-snapping disposition.

In February, the band released a five track EP of acoustic songs recorded in guitarist/vocalist Ben Worcester’s bedroom. The band emphasizes audience interaction and called earlier this year for cover art designs for the EP. The winner, pictured below, came from Abbi MacDonald from Ontario. The artwork links to iTunes purchases cache for “Bear Bones.”

"Bear Bones" EP

Said the Whale recalls Miniature Tigers‘s gruff swagger, the self-assured chutzpah of pretty boys knowing they make the girls swoon. It’s an eager album and each of the tracks are alternately captivating and emotionally trite. The depth of sentimentality is shallow, and the emotions the band grasps at are meager. It’s certainly not the world’s best album, but it’s definitely one to give multiple spins.

Happy listening!

(editor’s note) Embedded below is the video for “The Light is You,” the Said the Whale track I am most digging currently. The band is great Earth Day fodder – they sure do seem to revere nature! This video was filmed in a picturesque apple orchard.


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