Freelance Whales :: "Locked Out"

I once disparaged Freelance Whales as "Lou Pearlman's Arcade Fire." It was a joke that required at least a cursory knowledge of 1990s pop culture, a sort of backhanded compliment to Freelance Whale's tight sound and nearly adorable assortment of Urban Outfitters-clad members. It was the kind of thing you say too loudly between sets at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Their music felt cloying, almost claustrophobic, the lyrics about Hannah taking the stairs, "elevator" rhyming with "Now and Later." It was the end of indie rock, or so this writer would have told you then, either undaunted or unconcerned with the fact that indie rock's obituary had already been written nearly a decade earlier. (Editor's note: In a sense, this marks the coterminous beginning and end of indie rock, or perhaps, the death of indie rock as a real thing meaning "independently released rock" and the beginning of it as a style genre.) So, Freelance Whales are back with a new record, Diluvia, and a new song, "Locked Out" and it is a bit more atmospheric, still prominently featuring chimes and adorable male-female harmonies. The last movement and last lyric, "We have the rations to go anywhere," turns the aesthetic outward, making this a journey and making us all prepared for it. This is ambitious and worthwhile, not a bit planned and packaged, unlike, say, a retroactive apology for a biting comment from three years ago.

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