By: Daniela Patrizi
Whale Fall | website | facebook | twitter | bandcamp | soundcloud |
Released on December 16, 2014 via bandcamp
I was happy when my first submission to (((O))) about my favorite albums of the year didn’t go through because I had the possibility to add The Madrean, the new album by Whale Fall released at the end of a very good year for music and just a few months before the fourth anniversary of the band’s debut.
If you don’t know who they are it’s time to start noticing. Whale Fall is an instrumental quintet from Los Angeles, California, that has been writing music since their debut in 2011 with a self-titled album that is both energetic and melancholic.
Listeners will find the same characteristics in The Madrean, which has in it a multitude of sounds so it can be the soundtrack of every moment of your day. On the band’s website they write: “We are proud to present our sophomore release The Madrean, an eight-chapter instrumental story of the Madrean region of the American West”. Well, The Madrean is a real journey with its quiet and dynamic moments that are all intense and a pure joy to experience. Imagine to take your car and to start a long exciting drive along the Californian coast till the Mexican border: this album is a perfect soundtrack. You can also just press play and lay down on your couch to relax: The Madrean will let you drift away.
The journey through the eight movements of The Madrean starts with ‘The Dawn Thief’ and it’s a great start because the mid-tempo and mariachi sound of this track will put you immediately in a great mood and if you close your eyes you’ll see the western American coast and the northwestern Mexico at the horizon. The band’s change in style is evident from the first track of this second album. The melancholic mood of their debut album disappeared, leaving room for cinematic post rocky build ups that demonstrate the talent of the band and their ability to put together the several sounds they develop till the point that focusing on one instrument per time you’ll have the impression you’re listening to several songs.
Every track of the album is a journey in a journey and there are many highlights that make the experience of The Madrean very enjoyable. ‘El Pistolero’ is one of those moments where the mariachi horns and the notes that recall the sound of Ennio Morricone free your mind and invite you to travel and dream about landscapes you have never visited. It’s an emotional, beautiful track.
Other beautiful moments of TheMadrean are the bells of ‘I Shall Sail No More (No More Shall I Sail)’, the dense melancholic movements of ‘On River, On Route’ and finally the title track where, again, Aaron Farinelli, J-Matt Greenberg, Dave Pomeranz, Erik Tokle and Ali Vazin demonstrate their ability to offer something that is not only enjoyable but challenges you and involves you, crafting its intricate soundscapes that can grow and culminate before seamlessly drifting to a soft lull. Rarely are bands able to do so.