The guys in Whale Zombie know what they’re doing. They’ve crafted a sound and persona that borrows from numerous characteristics of pop rock history while somehow maintaining an identity that’s all their own. Playing with the vigor of a bunch of teenagers who just bought their first battered secondhand instruments and the finesse of seasoned veterans, Whale Zombie have constructed a solid offering with the debut of their first full-length album. Musical genres are thrown in a blender throughout, but this is accomplished in a way that never jars the listener or upsets its own flow. This is, in part, because the fuzzy, lo-fi aesthetic is one of a few rare elements that remains constant. Add to that quality song writing and skillful playing, and there’s little fault to be found within these 35 minutes of throwback surfy psychedelia.
Any number of Whale Zombie’s songs could be equally at home in a Nuggets compilation or on the iPod of a hungover OU underclassman. It’s apparent that they like to screw around with pedals, which will always earn high praise from me. Still, that never really prevents them from writing some truly catchy, rocking tunes. Some of my favorite tracks are the raucous “Ridin’ the Wave” with it’s singalong melodies, “Battle for Middle Earth”, an instrumental ditty that shakes the walls with its thundering chorus and sprint to a false finish and the wonderfully sludgy “Demons”.
Ultimately, any album review can be boiled down to one simple question: is it worth a listen? In this case, the answer is a clear and resounding “yes.” Check out their Myspace, Facebook and Bandcamp presences for information and downloads. Their label, Dark Circle Records, also has a site, but it seems to be in its infancy as this is being written. Whale Zombie might not be everyone’s cup of tea, nevertheless there is plenty in there for fans of surf rock, psychedelic freak outs, retro pop, heavy instrumentals and Final Fantasy IX to enjoy. Just watch out for the Ultra Sound Wave! That shit can fuck up your entire party.
Buy: Whale Zombie LP