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New Music: Said the Whale

By Rachel Woodward, April 04, 2017 —

The fifth album from Said the Whale is a familiar nod to the band’s acoustic past. However, As Long as Your Eyes are Wide also takes a step towards new indie-pop sounds while telling stories of relationships masked in preppy melodies. Though some tracks  may come off as repetitive and somewhat lazy, the overall vibe of the album is positive and a welcome springtime soundtrack for the coming season. saidthewhale

The 10-track collection plays well in order. Intro “Step Into Darkness” gets the album moving on a high note with upbeat percussion and funky beats, but the lyrics don’t seem to hold the same positivity. If you listen to this track mindlessly, it won’t be clear but the lyrics — when paid attention to — are much darker than a first listen demonstrates. Lyrics like “if it’s the end well, let’s cross that line. Let’s step into darkness, let’s step into the darkness” suggest a darker undertone.

This trend continues throughout the album. By the time listeners get to “Heaven,” the pop repetition calls back to some ‘80s-inspired soundscapes and retro melodies.

“Miscarriage” is the first time the album slows down, and it is an abrupt change. The track is melancholic and slow, evoking deep emotions with breezy vocals and quiet beats.

The album doesn’t fully grind to a halt here, “Beautiful Morning” brings the pace from the first half of the album back into focus. The track has more playful nursery rhyme-esque patterns in its lyrics. This might also be a personal favourite of mine on the album because it is so lightweight in comparison to the track it follows. It is a welcome change and a carefree tune.

“Emily Rose” gives listeners a reminder of band’s more folksy and acoustic sounds. The track is easy to listen to and carries a playful tune while also providing leeway in its lyrics for listeners to draw their own conclusions.

Admittedly, the album has a couple of drawbacks. Some tracks don’t seem to fit or are too repetitive. “Confidence,” for example, repeats the same few words over and over again during the chorus, and the verses surround the repetition with monotone vocals and hard-to-distinguish lyrics. It just doesnt carry the same value as the other tracks. The reliance on synth-beats is distracting as the continuous pattern of “call it what you want, confidence” is chanted over and over again in a loop.

Overall, the album is an easy listen to throw on while driving and running errands. Though it doesn’t do anything groundbreaking in terms of sound for the band, As Long as Your Eyes are Wide brings breezy melodies and powerful lyrics that are perfect for the start of warm weather.

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