Are Said the Whale a Canadian institution yet? If they aren’t, Little Mountain is further proof that they damn well should be.
At this point, it’s difficult to articulate what exactly makes Said the Whale so endearing. Maybe that the band always sounds like a product of a group of people and not one person. Maybe it’s their catchiness. Maybe it’s the vocal harmonies. It’s all of these things and more.
Little Mountain is bursting at the seams with music, running at 15 songs (though one song, the strange “Guilty Hypocrites” runs at just 50 seconds) and will be sure to satisfy fans both old and new. The album also feels just as Canadian as Islands Disappear, though the references are embedded in the songs and not just the song titles. “Jesse, AR” for example is about a man who moves from Little Rock, Arkansas to Edmonton, and the song makes the Canadian capital sound pretty fantastic.
Also present is the fantastic vocal talent the group as a whole possesses. See “Big Wave Goodbye” as a great example of this. The song, though placed in the middle of the album, feels like it could be the final song. True to its name, the song is a big adieu, this time to Vancouver, where Said the Whale calls home. With at least three voices in the mix the song gets that much more powerful.
There are also plenty of songs packed with pop goodness that will stick in your head for ages, such as “Loveless” which features the hook “How can I love you less now that I know you more?” Another tune, “Lucky,” is also sure to get stuck in your head, especially as the whole band, hands clapping, sings “We are lucky and we know it/We clap our hands to show it.”
Not all is sunny on Little Mountain, though. “Hurricane Ada” is a song which is filled with tension, and “Heavy Ceiling” may be one of the heaviest songs the band has thus written.
The album draws to a close with “Seasons,” a simple piano-driven song that definitely feels like the end of an album.
There is so much to love on this album, and those who are just picking up on this band will find much to enjoy, while diehard fans will have plenty to keep them happy and interested.
As a final note, Said the Whale seem to be a big fan of natural landmasses as album titles. Maybe their next album could reference a volcano? Maybe a coral reef?
Little Mountain is available on iTunes and at your local record store.
Top Tracks: “Loveless”; “Jesse, AR”; “Lucky”
Rating: Hunting Call (Excellent) +*swoop*