Reviewed by: Stephen Krock
I do so love when a band plays with their sound like waves on the beach. And that is exactly what Said the Whale does on their newest album, hawaiii. Although, I can’t really speak for their spelling and grammar skills.
In the first few tracks, I heard a torchy, baleful piano ballad (“More Than This”), a screw-the-rules-man beach party anthem (“Mother”), and a poppy, post-punk foot stomper (“I Love You”). There were even a few Mumford & Sons-esque folky trills snuck in for good measure. They slide from one genre to the next in one single song so effortlessly that it makes you kind of hate them. Things get a little more real in “Safe to Say,” an all-natural garage band groove. “Resolutions” employs that infamous indie reverb. “Willow” and “On the Ropes” have that early 2000s Rooney feel, which itself harkens back to 60s/70s surfer pop. Strong vocals are on display in the harmonious “Oh K, Okay.” The latter half of hawaiii is regrettably not quite as enthralling as the first. The mood and sound steadies and plateaus. Regardless, it’s still darn good throughout.
Their song crafting wisdom is apparent, as is their passion and playfulness. You have to love a band that records their own version of the viral Ylvis’ “What Does Fox Say” video. Theirs, of course, being more focused on the whale. Said the Whale is a fantastic time and must be heard.