Diluvia, the second studio outing from Queens-based indie pop quintet Freelance Whales, is, according to the press release, "a record about the possible survival -- or peril -- of space-faring humans and other arguably fantastical scenarios." The band takes that statement quite literally, offering up 11 bubbly, sci-fi/philosophical confections that willfully blend the shimmery, electro-chamber pop of Jónsi, the bookish preciousness of Sufjan Stevens, and the cleverly disguised Top 40 yearnings of Passion Pit into the musical equivalent of a Japanese role-playing game. 2010's Weathervanes played fast and loose with traditional indie folk trappings like banjo and glockenspiel, augmenting those instruments' urban hominess with crystalline synth loops and kitchen sink percussion, a tactic that's been both honed and magnified on the deliriously effervescent Diluvia. More meticulously crafted and lovingly produced than its predecessor, Diluvia's biggest problem is that if stripped of its confectionary arrangements, it would be nearly impossible to tell one song from the other. Taken in short neon bursts the album delivers, with tracks like "Locked Out," "Aeolus," and "Spitting Image," the latter of which is one of two tracks to feature lead vocals from the band's lone female member, Doris Cellar, leading the charge, but as a meal, it's weighed down by too many similar courses, all of them trying to simply skate by on their good-natured, cyber-bohemian verve. If anything, Diluvia offers up a perfectly rendered snapshot of the cresting East Coast indie pop scene, conjuring up images of nomadic laptop studios, vintage bicycles, endless stacks of tattered Tor paperbacks, and heavily tattooed, non-smoking urbanites noshing on locally grown produce.
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AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger