New Year New Music Part Four – Freelance Whales

Animals are everywhere in music these days. Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear, Department of Eagles, Animal Collective, Frightened Rabbit, Startled Ocelot and Disgruntled Goat1 have all made their mark in recent years. If you are from Brooklyn (or Stirling) and need to give a funky, trendy name to your band, you’d better make sure you name it after wildlife.

Which is the route taken by Queens (eg nearly Brooklyn) band Freelance Whales. When my old chum Andrew contacted me to tell me about this great new band he’d come across, I thought he was taking the piss, as is his wont. But no. Freelance Whales are indeed a real band, and a quite startlingly good one they are too.

Now, I’m one of those people who constantly compares new things to bands/films/books/dogs I already know about. Yes, I know that in Music Journalism 101 they teach you to not do this kind of thing, but what the hell, this is my blog and I’ll do what I like. Here’s my take on Freelance Whales. They are Fleet Foxes meets Justin Timberlake.

“You what?” I hear you exclaim. Hear me out. The reason why I say this is that they like:

a. Banjos

b. Autotune

See? It’s easy, this music journalism lark. But, facetiousness aside, they combine some of the folky pastoral vibe of recidivists like Fleet Foxes and Devendra Banhart with the rather more modern autotuned sounds of Timberlake and Kanye West. Sure, that sounds very odd indeed, but it does work superbly, making a mixture that seems incongruous on paper quite delightful in reality. There’s all sorts of other influences in there, from Mew to Super Furry Animals to Neil Young.

Their album “Weathervanes” is out in March, with previews of much of the album available here. Better still, you can pre-order the album on their website here and get a free MP3 download immediately, well before the March 16th release date. I suggest you do as it’s excellent.

And enjoy the MP3 below, the song “Generator ^ 1st Floor”, which elegantly builds up the Deliverance-style banjo to Arcade Fire style heights:

MP3: Generator 1st floor by Freelance Whales

Ah, new music. Can’t beat it, can you?

1 Not all of these are real.

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