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As the WERS studio filled with spacious and roomy rhythms and voices, it was clear Freelance Whales had indeed arrived. The studio was filled to the brim with the five musicians and their funky instruments, which help create their lively indie sound. Among them were the standard bass and acoustic guitars, but they were joined by the likes of a mandolin, trumpet, banjo, and even the harmonium, appears almost as a hybrid between a keyboard and accordion bellows. It was later identified with enthusiasm by its key player, Doris Cellar, as an instrument with Indian origins.
Freelance Whales played a three-song set consisting of numbers from their new album, Diluvia, released on October 9th. A stand out from these three was “Locked Out”, which was released as a free single on their website. The song had an upbeat vibe, making use of the myriad of instruments each member plays. Members like Chuck Criss alternated between bass, glockenspiel, acoustic and electric guitar, and vocals, while other members like Kevin Read rock acoustic and electric guitar, glockenspiel, mandolin, synthesizer, and vocals, as well. During “Locked Out” Chuck and Kevin masterfully alternated on the glockenspiel while Chuck played guitar and Kevin multitasked with his trumpet and keyboard. It was an impressive display of talent and the band did not miss a beat, in fact, they made it look effortless.
The band kept this number company with two other songs off of Diluvia, “Aeolus” and “Spitting Image”. Lead singer Judah Dadone explained that even though the band focused intensely on the acoustic side of their performances on the first album, they unfortunately haven’t had too much time to dedicate to this style recently. However, they believe that the songs they have had the time to work on are the best choice for an acoustic performance, like the one in the WERS studio. And rest assured, it is evident that the time they did spend was productive. The band knew exactly what kind of sound they were going for and were the most positive perfectionists – able to laugh when they made mistakes, with the addition of the valuable ability to seriously discuss how to productively perform with one another.
These harmonious instrumentals allowed for an equal marriage with the lyrics, which Doris and Judah say stem from the ideas of sci-fi, fantasy, and the artistic interpretations Carl Sagan offered the world about space and the Universe. With lyrics such as, “with all the precious metals we dug up for/ circuit boards and spaceships/ my fluorescent gods I’ve waited for this”, that come from “Aeolus”, that feeling of wonder and awe is really driven home to the listener. “That’s what we’re hoping would come across in this record,” said Doris, “that confluence of science and emotion.”
The two band mates further elaborated on their new album’s vibe. “With the sort of deluxe package [of Diluvia], you get this home planetarium we designed – called the Asralark Home Projector – its sort of like a nightlight for your room and projects a fictional night sky onto your ceiling.” These concepts even permeate their concert performances: Doris described their space themed backdrop on stage, which features constellations and reflecting mirrors that are intended to have people think a little deeper for a while.
Despite all the deep and introspective thought, the band knows how to keep things light. When asked for fun what their name would be if they weren’t called Freelance Whales, Doris immediately whispered in Judah’s ear, which he translated: “Freelance Turtles” – bandmates that overheard this began laughing, which in turn set off another round of giggling and smiles.
Unfortunately for fans, their tour for Diluvia ended on November 3 in Boston’s own Paradise Rock Club. So what are their plans after being on the road? Doris replied, “Since the hurricane just happened, we definitely want to go over there and volunteer… and I feel inspired as well, so I want to get to writing right away.” In addition, Judah said that touring and being at home provide quite the contrast, as “writing is the perfect relief. You never know what is going to happen with writing; it could go anywhere”. These feelings are definitely executed in Diluvia; check it out and download “Locked Out” at freelancewhales.com for a taste of this lyrical work of art.