Mom + Pop Music New York-based indie quintet Freelance Whales are on the road…
- Posted on Nov 12th 2012 5:00PM by Michelle Geslani
As they toured and country-hopped for months at a time, their musical vision experienced a growth, too, expanding far beyond the band's initial inspirations and the Queens practice space they called their second home. When it came to writing their sophomore effort entitled Diluvia, Freelance Whales looked to the stars. Literally.
While the first record's material, such as the charming "Hannah" and playful "Starring," was built around the dreams of various band members -- not exactly a tangible subject, but personal and familiar nonetheless -- Diluvia (Frenchkiss Records/Mom+Pop) deals with a new set of unknowns: Space exploration and the intersection of science and emotion.
Although the details of galaxies, planets and moons seem endless and unnerving, the band saw the depths of such concepts to be promising. "I think the pursuit of knowledge in a field of science must feel very similar to the pursuit of aesthetic beauty in music or another art form," explains Judah Dadone, one of the band's lead vocalists and main songwriters. "Day after day of experimentation, frustration, elation and awe."
Creatively, Freelance Whales let go of Weathervanes' intimacy and opened themselves up to an enormous, abstract, unpredictable creature of influence. According to Dadone, "If there was a goal [for Diluvia], it was to move outward from a confined, claustrophobic space into a bigger undefined space, and to create songs and stories that seem to fit into that ether." The infinite sky, a series of complex chemical equations, elicited quite the sentimental response.
"In a way, science, especially astrophysics, is about the humility of looking beyond yourself, and accepting the fact that you might be minute or unexceptional," he admits. He recalls the times he'd watch Carl Sagan's Cosmos as a young kid, noting a "soulful, magical tone" in the brilliant astronomer's voice and how he seemed more like an "emotional presence" than someone with a wealth of factual information.
Looking through such a lens was equivalent to opening a dam; the band was inundated with ideas, feelings, and information, which in turn translated into lush songs of guitar clangs, banjo plucks, and keystrokes. The richness is easily apparent throughout all of Diluvia (an album title so apt, by the way, as the word "diluvia" is the Latin plural for "floods"). Unlike Weathervanes, whose songs were oftentimes quick with catchy hooks, the band's new music blooms, bubbles and bursts with intensity, but on its own time, at its own pace.
"We learned a lot about expression over perfection," claims Dadone. "Weathervanes is a record of tortured meticulousness, while Diluvia is a little bit more anarchical." As a result, beautiful tracks like "Follow Through" and "Dig Into Waves" are given ample time to develop and unravel, given just the right amount of breathing room, without sacrificing their quality, but rather enhancing it.
The songs are liberated and allowed to revel in all of their phases and stages, whether it's a peak or a lull, the intro or outro. "We wanted to make something that sounded more alive and wild, less machine-like and predestined," he adds.
Understanding that subjects of science, like emotions, can't be easily explained, Freelance Whales realize the heart is in the journey, in the curiosity, and not necessarily in the answer.