Most things in life have a set time for their creation. Babies? Yeah, you got roughly 9 months for that sucker to bake in the stomach til he comes screaming into this world. Brownies? That's about 20 minutes at 350 degrees (I didn't consult a brownie box to see if I was right, I was just lazy and chose numbers I thought was right). But music? Well, there's a finite amount of time for you to play it (With old age and such), and there's a finite amount of time for your to craft your sound until you simply get too old or too bored too care anymore, but for the most part, you have all the time in the world. This premise stayed with me as I listened to The White Whales new album, Lakestate.
The White Whales sound a lot like The Killers, which isn't meant as a jab to them, it just seems clear that these guys probably listen to them on their free time. Everyone has their influences, and thousands of bands wouldn't be here today if they didn't try to sound almost exactly like one of their favorite artists. It's more of recommendation than a warning.
Songs like "Transfiguration", "Flowers" and "Fake History" provide instant examples of what this band is trying to play. Mixing new wave themes with alternative-rock sounds, The White Whales try hard to be different, but retain much of what their predecessors set up before them. This too, is more of a recommendation than a warning, but it's more to the band. I never want to see a band fail, but when you're a near clone of a band that already does everything better than you do, it might be time to rethink your approach.
"Babe The Blue Ox" drives home an edgier vibe to their material, which honestly made it so much more enjoyable to listen to. "Grappling Iron" tries to do the same, giving the album a much needed adrenaline boost. If only they'd tried to add in more songs like these, or at least balanced out their sound a bit, Lakestate might have been a better album.
Others like "Do Not Let Me Go" and "Lakestate" give the album some depth, but leave almost no lasting value. It's a pity because it's clear these guys are talented, but they're not giving it their all. Sometimes the vocals seem a pitch or two off, and sometimes the levels aren't balanced right on the album. It's kind of like these guys had an endless stretch of really bad days and just said, 'Fuck it!', throwing their arms up in disgust and deciding to finish the album no matter how it sounded. I'm probably way off on that, but that's the optimistic side of me working here.
Lakestate doesn't feel like a finished album, and that's one of my biggest problems with it. Somewhere along the ways, these guys gave up on trying to do something good and decided to settle on something unfinished. They know what they're doing, and given some time, they could produce an album that would make me forget this one completely. I guess I'll need more time to find that out. - Shane