Published Sep 17, 2009Yesterday evening (September 16), pop rock five-piece Said the Whale unveiled their new album, Islands Disappear, at a listening party held on a boat cruising around Vancouver's False Creek. It was a unique way to debut an album but, for a band whose previous songs include "The Banks of the English Bay" and "Howe Sounds" (both Vancouver landmarks), it was an experience that captured the essence of the music.
Beginning with a mournful, sustained note from a boat horn, the 13-track collection ranges from rootsy acoustic folk to dazzling power pop. Highlights include the hummable acoustic rocker "B.C. Orienteering" and the dance floor-ready "Goodnight Moon," which begins as a gentle ukulele/glockenspiel ballad before exploding into an euphoric finale with thundering drums and "bap bap ba" shouts. It's an eclectic mix of influences that draws on the experiences of touring across Canada, a jaunt the band have made six times in the past two years.
"The first record was very Vancouver-centric," singer/guitarist Tyler Bancroft tells Exclaim! "It's hard not to be influenced by your surroundings, and in the past couple of years those surroundings have so often been the open road, or the prairies, or the snowy Canadian Shield." Evidence of this new perspective can be found in songs like "Holly, ON," "Out on the Shield" and "Emerald Lake, AB."
Of course, the band still name-drop plenty of Vancouver landmarks, including one song called "False Creek Change," which describes the city's evolution since Expo 86. "We still live in Vancouver and we love it dearly. It's our muse," says Bancroft.
As well as a run-through of the album, the evening included a magic show from Camilo, a friend of Bancroft immortalized in the group's latest single, the power pop gem "Camilo (The Magician)."
"He used to come to our parties and perform magic tricks in his sultry Columbian accent," explains Bancroft. "I didn't really know the guy very well when I wrote the song about him, but now he's using it as the theme song for his magic show."
Islands Disappear will be released on October 13 via Hidden Pony/EMI. In the meantime, the band members are resting up before embarking upon yet another cross-Canadian tour, which will take them as far as Newfoundland.
1. "Dear Elkhorn"
2. "Out on the Shield"
3. "B.C. Orienteering"
4. "Camilo (The Magician)"
5. "Emerald Lake, AB"
6. "Islands Disappear"
7. "Black Day in December"
9. "False Creek Change"
10. "A Cold Night Close to the End"
11. "The Gift of a Black Heart"
12. "Goodnight Moon"
13. "Holly, ON"
9/24 Victoria, BC - Element (Rifflandia Festival)*
10/1 Montreal, QC - The Jupiter Room (Pop Montreal)
10/7 London, ON - London Music Club**
10/9 Toronto, ON - Criminal Records
10/10 Toronto, ON - 102.1 The Edge
10/11 Peterborough, ON - Montreal House**
10/12 Hamilton, ON - The Casbah**
10/13 Windsor, ON - Phog Lounde**
10/14 Waterloo, ON - Maxwell's Music House**
10/15 Ottawa, ON - Live Lounge**
10/16 Fredricton, NB - The Capitol**
10/17 St. George, BC - Paul's Wharf**
10/18 Charlottetown, PE - Baba's**
10/20 Hampton, NB - Vintage Bistro**
10/21 Halifax, NS - Toothy Moose**
10/23 Corner Brook, NL - Greenfall College**
10/24 St. John's, NL - The Ship**
10/28 Toronto, ON - El Mocambo**
11/03 Winnipeg, MA - TBA**
11/04 Saskatoon, SA - Amigos**
11/05 Calgary, AB - SAIT Gateway**
11/06 Canmore, AB - Communitea**
11/08 Edmonton, AB - TBA**
* with Dan Mangan
** with Hannah Georgas