In six years, the five musicians who make up Vancouver’s Said The Whale has accomplished much more than the average Joe can boast: they’ve come second place in the 2010 Peak Performance Project, won a 2011 Juno award for Best New Group of the Year, starred in the CBC documentary Winning America, and toured across Canada and the U.S.
So, if you believe they’re ready to throw their feet up and relax with a pack of pale ales (perhaps Said The Ale, the beer that Townsite Brewery dedicated to them) after their 2012 album Little Mountain, you are terribly mistaken.
Enter hawaiii, the band’s third LP. Through a wide spectrum of tempos and styles, they deliver a fresh take on the charming harmonies, irresistible hooks and quirks that define them.
“We worked very hard on hawaiii’s track listing to make sure it would flow despite its sonic diversity. It’s laid out almost like a mixtape,” says vocalist and guitarist Tyler Bancroft. “I think everyone will be able to find at least one song that resonates with them [on the album].”
Summer gems “Mother” and “I Love You” carry over from EP I Love You to the full-length release, with the latter garnering heavy radio play. That single’s upbeat-pseudo garage rock enhances the playful, almost-slanderous nature of Bancroft’s lyrics – which, by the way, depict a true tale of unconditional love for family. “I grew up as an only child and had always wanted to have brothers and sisters,” says Bancroft, “and soon enough, one day my parents were like ‘Oh, by the way, you do have siblings!’” Though they were older and harder to relate to when they finally met, Bancroft still came to love them.
Even better: the music video for “I Love You” is comical. Think of the Japanese game show Most Extreme Elimination Challenge, wacky costumes, a plethora of perverted jokes, and a ton of falls, trips and impact relays.
Hilarity aside, hawaiii includes several serious songs, often family-centric. “Helpless Son” is the heartbreaking expression of Bancroft’s struggle to accept his mother’s inevitable aging. “That was a really tough one to write for me,” he admits. “Everyone goes through this experience. It’s hard to watch someone that you love become old and dependent on their family, whereas at an earlier point in your life, that person was your caretaker.” The steady build of drums, guitar, and keyboard quietens as Bancroft becomes penitent (“Did I break your heart when I left the house/ the moment I was old enough?/ I only wanted you to see that I could make a man of me”) towards the song’s end.
Though Said the Whale’s U.S. Fall Tour will keep them on the road until the end of September, fans in their home country need not fear: the band is anticipating a set of Canadian dates sometime in November. In the meantime, just remember: the band is always a text message away at 1-778-68-WHALE.
Yes, you did read that correctly. And, no, that number isn’t a whale sighting hotline.
“People see text messaging as a very intimate form of communication, so it’s cool to text with a band that you enjoy,” concludes Bancroft. “We get some hilarious shit coming through to us when we’re bored on the road.”
Said The Whale will release hawaiii on Sept. 17.
By Kristina CharaniaBC, British Columbia