I just got back from a show. After a day of work, post-work festivities, and a traffic-ridden drive into the city, this old lady was ready to call it quits at 9PM. For the love of music, I stuck it out (mostly, anyways), and that’s one thing that I love about it all – the ability for music to act as a time machine. All the logical parts of my brain were telling me to take a nap, but the more-awesome music part of my brain was transformed back into a youthful version of myself, and I loved every minute of it.
Remove the live music setting, and that is how I feel about Whales and their album, Size and Scale. The album begins subtly, with the fuzzy guitar and piano of “Levels” being your first introduction to the LP. It leads almost seamlessly into the following track, “Horses”. The album has this mysterious way of making me feel young; it may be something about the mixture of fuzzy guitar that ever-so-slightly overpowers vocalist’s Maigin Blank’s contributions on “Horses”.
“On the Floor” is gentle and soothing; something about it is very smooth rock, but also a little Radiohead – something about the percussion and, more specifically, the rim clicks of the kit. The rhythm section of this song might actually be the component that brings it all together and makes it such an interesting piece. It’s a floating melody with delicate, summery vocals and cymbal crashes that fit perfectly with the established mood.
“Faithless” begins exactly how I would assume a song entitled “faithless” would: Brooding. Fuzzy. Dark. Steady percussion and deep, repetitive bass lines open the song in an almost tribal way, calling to mind a personal favorite, GOAT. The track is a cool noise rock piece. Following is “Adrift”, a total shoegazey track, with ambient vocals and crisp drumming. The album flows really well, with Blank’s vocals connecting the band’s foray into different styles from track-to-track.
To classify Size and Scale inaccurately would be to simply label it as a shoegazey, rock-infused album. In reality, it’s an amalgamation of grungy, 90s-inspired rock with noise rock and pop and more. Fans of Panda Riot are going to enjoy the sometimes poppy, sometimes grungy music of Whales. While Maigin Blank’s sweet, crystal clear vocals are undoubtedly a highlight of the album, what I appreciate way more is the greater effort of the band as a whole, the way the album makes me feel: young, a little reckless, and a whole lot of happy.