Freelance Whales

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Weathervanes Review

by James Christopher Monger

Weathervanes, the debut album from New York City's (Queens, to be exact) Freelance Whales is built upon the tried and true, 21st century indie pop foundation of quirky loops, banjos, glockenspiels, and clever lyrics. Like their contemporaries (Morning Benders, Fun., Le Loup) and obvious influences (Belle and Sebastian, Sufjan Stevens), the Whales use twee pop as a springboard for a more heavily orchestrated brand of earnest, quirky, city pop that seems destined for placement in a European car or fruit-adorned MP3 player commercial. Bolstered by a handful of engaging singles like “Generator ^ First Floor,” “Location” and “We Could Be Friends”, it’s hard to find fault with the album's intricate arrangements and top notch production, but the songs, which rarely change key, begin to congeal into one big independent film trailer montage as the record progresses. Lead singer Judah Dadone’s clear, even tenor dutifully leads the charge, and the group’s penchant for folksy instrumentation mixed with meticulous electro flourishes and familiar, sing-songy melodies (occasionally repeated Ad nauseam) is well executed, but the ten songs and three instrumental interludes that make up Weathervanes' 45-minute runtime feel more like they were generated by a sentient computer with a top-notch, five boroughs-centric, indie pop digital collection than actual human beings.

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