Published Feb 07, 2019Juno Award-winning Vancouver-based indie rockers Said the Whale are back with their sixth studio album, Cascadia. As one of our most anticipated albums of 2019, Cascadia doesn't disappoint.
Cascadia is a constant, winding road, with an unpredictable end in sight. At some points, it's upbeat pop rock, like on the album's second track, "UnAmerican." It's a metronomic head-nodder, almost mathematic as it delivers a catchy beat and an easy-to-follow, memorable chorus. But then on tracks like "Love Don't Ask," Cascadia darkens, leaving faint traces of garage rock, as a disgruntled piano chimes in the background, reminiscent of the Arctic Monkeys in their earlier days.
Said the Whale continue to flex their diversity throughout Cascadia. "Shame" transforms from an upbeat, quick rhythmed pop song to a sleepy, atmospheric dream sequence. "Old Soul, Young Heart" is pure folk, while Cascadia's final track "Gambier Island Green" feels like avant-garde, atmospheric lo-fi — further complicating Cascadia's genre. What can be ruled out, though, is Said the Whale's past attachment to synth rock. You won't see any of that here.
Cascadia is, without a doubt, a complicated album. It's fun, serious and sexy all at the same time. The vocals, from Ben Worcester and Tyler Bancroft, show confidence, only to be heightened by the rest of the band's support. Each song can stand alone, but also doesn't feel out of place when put alongside the others as a collection. This album feels authentic, pointing Said the Whale in the direction of home, a place we hope to see them return to. (Arts & Crafts)