In The Whale
4 out of 5 stars
In The Whale has reached the pinnacle of the adage “be excellent and be gone.” Their entire discography — four EPs that they’ve released since 2011 — is only 50 minutes long. Or another way to put it; every song they’ve ever released fits onto one single CD.
That hit it and quit it swagger has resulted in a blistering catalog of cathartic punk, rock and borderline metal, and with their latest release Full Nelson, the Denver two-piece of Nate Valdez and Eric Riley have continued their tradition of being loud, awesome and ending their EPs in under 15 minutes.
The band, which uses the self-deprecating website inthewhalesucks.com, and actually encourages its fans to say the same, just announced that they would play Lollapalooza 2015. That announcement comes after massive touring over the past year, with a “stupid number of artists that you’d happily phone home about.” Jane’s Addiction? Check. Slash? Yep. Presidents of The United States, Agent Orange, Murder By Death, Local H and Rev. Horton Heat? Yeah, they’ve all gotten that In The Whale stink on them.
Full Nelson — which was engineered at Silo Sound Studios by Todd Divel — isn’t just bombastic power chords though. It starts that way, for sure. Four of the five tracks are like that. “Radio,” “Whiskey, Gin & Beer,” as well as the absolutely brutal “Cavity” show a devilish, even more twisted side of In The Whale’s dark humor and raucousness. In an homage to classic punk tracks “Johnny-Two-A-Day” even features a chanting chorus of ladies screaming “yeah, yeah, yeah.”
Then, on the EP closer, the band throws a left-hook out of nowhere; an acoustic, almost ballady, Johnny Cash-styled track titled “Mail” which features Emily Hobbs of the Denver folk band Poet’s Row, providing back-up vocals.
It’s those twists and turns that keep In The Whale consistently enthralling and more fun than anyone should legally be able to have.
Oh, and they totally suck!
hi-dive| April 3