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Or, the Whale

6 customer reviews

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Or, The Whale
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Audio CD, September 15, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

'Voices everywhere, caught again in the devil's snare,' belts lead vocalist and guitarist Alex Robins of San Francisco-based Or, the Whale on the second song of the band's newest album. The song, Datura, is a rollicking ode to the hallucinogenic properties of jimson weed but could just as easily be a description of the band itself. On the heels of 2007's Light Poles and Pines, featuring the band's debut single Call and Response - which earned them a coveted spot on Radio & Records Top 100 Americana Artists of 2008; an appearance on Good Morning, America; and attention in USA Today, Paste, and Billboard magazines - comes the band's much-anticipated self titled second album, Or, the Whale is a band that will rock you, make you dance, and maybe even inspire you to contribute to their amazing vocal pyrotechnics - voices everywhere, indeed.

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
  1. No Love Blues 3:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Datura 3:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. Rusty Gold 3:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Never Coming Out 3:45$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. Count The Stars 5:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. Keep Me Up 4:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Black Rabbit 4:13$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Giving Up Time 2:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. Shasta 4:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. Terrible Pain 3:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. No Death 3:48$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 15, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Seany Records
  • ASIN: B002LGWWW0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #476,245 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Or, The Whale - Self-Titled
Engineered by Jay Pellicci and Laura Dean
Recorded at Tiny Telephone Studios SF, CA
Mixed by Scott Solter
Mastered by Roger Seibel at SAE Mastering Phoenix, AZ
Produced by Or, the Whale

The San Francisco group has done it again. Or, The Whale's sophomore release resonates with inspired songwriting, warm harmony, relentlessly hook-filled melody and well-crafted lyrics. Following the magnanimous debut, Light Poles and Pines, the Self-Titled release maintains the ensemble alt-country genre, while adding clean, solid production and tighter woven structure.

Alex Robins and Lindsay Garfield share lead vocals which spices up each song with fresh beginnings and tender interplay, while injecting variation and interest. Both singers have similarly deep and commanding tones (notably on "Black Rabbit") with vocal placement lingering well above the bedrock of rambling instrumentation.

Holistically, the album is sophisticated and tight. Rich, sunny melodies are seasoned by lapsteel and acoustic guitars, rambling percussion, bass and keys. Or, the Whale shows reserve while being a distinctly large band, prepared to strip-down and be as nuanced as the Black Heart Procession. The noteworthy song "Shasta" is where the album hits its highpoint. Here, Garfield takes lead, sharing the space with a lonely, strummy acoustic guitar. Her soulful cadence sets the song ablaze, occupied by heartfelt emotion and swooning charisma. She's a magnificent vocalist with a broad range and mature tone--think Natalie Merchant if she sang Neko Case songs.
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Format: Audio CD
Why isn't this band famous? They combine the best elements of West Coast `60s rock pioneers (Airplane, Dead, Springfield and Grape), UK folk (Fairport Convention, et al.), and the indie roots view of music as border-free. Alex Robins and Lindsay Garfield's harmonies on "Rusty Gold" brings to mind Slick, Kantner and Balin, while the plaintive opening lyric ("My dog died and it broke my heart / letting go is the hardest part") threatens to renew the tears once shed for Henry Gross' "Shannon." Here the sorrow is more philosophical than purely sentimental, and the chorus gears up to the anthemic feel of the Airplane's "Crown of Creation." The band's tagline, "voices everywhere," is a brag fulfilled, as the studied tempos provide opportunity to deeply explore duet and harmony singing as multiple singers bend and stretch the lyrics in vocal textures that complement and contrast. Even Tim Marcus' pedal steel adds emotional texture to the words with its instrumental voice. The band mixes rock, country, folk and soul, but not all at once, letting one style lead and others tint the songs with subtle colors that create a somber mood. You can pick out influences, such as the Gram/Emmylou (or Phil/Don) vibe of "Count the Stars," the Neil Young riffs, or the title nod of "Black Rabbit," but the band never loses itself in nostalgic reverie. Returning to the question of the band's lack of worldwide acclaim, maybe it's due to their oddly punctuated name, because it's certainly not a lack of great music. 4-1/2 stars, if allowed fractional ratings. [©2010 hyperbolium dot com]
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Wow! I heard these guys on Mountain Stage and immediately bought both their first albums and they are soooo amazingly good! Not a bad song on either CD. Great playing and excellent male and female vocalists. Though I am not fond of comparing or labeling bands, I'll say that this is a great blend of alt-country and folk-rock somewhat in the Burrito Brothers/Blue Rodeo vain. There is some southern rock influence reminiscent of the Henry Paul Band, and some songs have a little contemporary Irish flavor that made me think a bit of the Cranberries, and a few even have a touch of Jam Band groove like something from Donna the Buffalo. This band should be all over the radio! I rarely get that ecstatic about any band that comes along, but these guys are the real deal!
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