“A whale walks into a bar with an island under his arm…”

“A whale walks into a bar with an island under his arm…”

Apr 19, 2011
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Said the Whale - "Islands Disappear" click on the album cover to hear it in iTunes

As a proud Canadian, neurosurgeon I’m always looking for great new homegrown talent. I recently discovered Said the Whale through Juno Week in Toronto (and they left with the statuette for “Best New Group”- yay!). They’ve generated significant buzz for a while now, visit but I’ve never paid attention until a couple of months ago.  I now regret that I waited this long to hear the sonic offerings of this BC band. They are simply amazing.

“Islands Disappear” is their latest release and it’s exceptional. You’ve probably heard their hit single, “Camilo (the Magician)”, which was originally released on a 4 song EP. I love this song. Upbeat, catchy, happy; the ideal summer driving song. While the rest of the album varies in mood and energy, it is nonetheless an instantly enjoyable listen. It starts with a short and slightly haunting song called, “Dear Elkhorn”, awash in layers of soft vocals. It then jumps straight into the bouncy, energetic, “Out on the Shield”; frantic drums, loud group vocals and an undeniable drive. Each song is unique yet manages to drift easily from track to track. The music is nicely varied. Not eclectic (eclectic=all over the map). Their sound is consistent with a broad range. Also, the lyrics, the stories about life in Canada and young love, keep the whole project sweetly cohesive.

I mentioned “Camino (the Magician)”- wicked song. Some of the other standout songs are “B.C. Orienteering”, “Black Day in December”, “The Gift of a Black Heart” and “Goodnight Moon”. These tunes dance and flow with unrestrained whimsy and great instrumentation including trumpets, glockenspiels, ukeleles and lots and lots of great vocals. All of this, combined with an inexplicable quality, makes this album truly feel like a journey across the Great White North.

Said the Whale is a fairly new band. But if this album, along with their previous titles, is any indication of where they’re heading then this group has a very bright future indeed.

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Craig the Critic

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