Four years since their last LP , Said the Whale’s newest release sees the group try and reach for a sharper and more digital sound but is grounded by a lack of any distinct sound.
Historically, Said the Whale has released tracks that create a unique blend of folk and indie rock. However, with the comings and goings of various band members, it has made the sound vary in tone and consistency. The most recent departure of Spencer Schoening, their drummer, made this new addition to their discography notably different.
This is undoubtedly a pop album, using heavy influence from the indietronica genre. Step Into the Darkness, the album’s first single, uses the same heavy keyboard that continues throughout the rest of the album while making subtle references to their older sound. The homage to the band’s folky background makes this particular song unique and perhaps the only stand-out song on the album.
While the instruments used are not what any long-time Said the Whale fan would expect, they are well done. It’s the lyrics and overall repetitiveness that makes the album feel heavy and somber, even in songs that have an upbeat tone.
Confidence, the album’s second single, not only embodies what could have been but signifies that Said the Whale is actively trying to be more experimental and branch out from their old sound. It also is faulted by its repetitiveness, but it is redeemed by that fact that it doesn’t bleed into the other songs which, on this album, is a refreshing and surprising trait.
The album has a great flow, but at times it’s hard to distinguish one song from the next. Although this is not necessarily a fault, it, unfortunately, makes the album forgettable.
The songs on this album dive a little deeper into the personal lives of the three members, Ben Worcester, Tyler Bancroft and Jaycelyn Brown, but its stance can’t redeem the unintentional melancholic feel.
As Long As Your Eyes Are Wide released on March 31 and is Said the Whale’s fifth studio album.