Said the Whale hawaiii

Said the Whale hawaiii
7
Said the Whale are the living embodiment of Canadian indie rock. The Vancouver, BC quintet have penned a host of light, bouncy tunes with just the right hint of sentimentality over three full-lengths, climbing to the top of the country's indie-pop heap. Yet, on their latest album, singer/guitarist Tyler Bancroft sounds restless. On "Mother," he sings, "maybe I should fuck something up good," suggesting the band are looking to break out of the box they created. Instead, hawaiii feels like an attempt to explore the nooks and crannies of said box, rather than a bid to smash it to bits. Songwriters Bancroft and Ben Worcester have mostly abandoned the references to Canadiana that marked their first two records, losing some of the unique charm that gained the band a devout following in the first place. They've compensated with a batch of songs that's tighter and more focused than anything the group have produced in the past, introducing new sides to their music. Standard fare like "I Love You" rubs shoulders with the slow build of "Safe to Say" and the skittering Radiohead groove of "Resolution." It doesn't always work though — Shad's skillful, though oddly placed, verse on the latter feels particularly awkward. However, it's great to see a group that could easily rest on their laurels keep pushing forward without betraying their original vision. (Hidden Pony)