Live Review: Freelance Whales and Broken Records

8 Feb


Freelance Whales: Flashes of pop perfection


Audio: Saturday, February 5 2011

If there’s any justice in the world, Edinburgh’s Broken Records will follow the path of compatriots Biffy Clyro and Frightened Rabbit to bigger and better things.

It took the Biff five albums before the masses paid attention, and three long-players in, Frightened Rabbit have finally been given a shot on major label.

For now though, touring on the back of October’s second album ‘Let Me Come Home’, Broken Records are going to have to slum it. ‘We had to get changed it a shitty janitor’s room’, quipped singer Jamie Sutherland. Now Audio’s a fine venue, but these vast anthems deserve to get a bigger airing.

Their hour-long slot is full of soaring soundscapes, packed with taut, crunching guitars alongside violin (it shouldn’t work, but it does), understated piano and topped off with Sutherland’s bellowing vocals.

If there’s any criticism, it’s that they are too polished and too professional. The tunes are here, but they’re never quite letting go. Let rip fellas, then go forth and conquer.

New York’s Freelance Whales are something all together different. They combine the electro-pop sensibilities of Lemon Jelly and the jauntiness of Vampire Weekend while throwing in hints of a darker and denser sound on their newer material.

Their opening numbers, however, provide a lesson in pop perfection. Stand out tracks from last year’s ‘Weathervanes’ debut album, ‘Hannah’, ‘Generator, 1st Floor’ and ‘Kilojoules’ are all fired up early doors.

They are harmony-laden gems which would rot your ears if they were any sweeter. It’s impressive stuff, but they set a standard in the opening 20 minutes that they can’t sustain.

It’s a point alluded to by singer Judah Dadone when he apologetically announced they’d have to play some new songs because they were struggling to fill their hour.

The set tailed off a little towards the end, with the exception of ‘Location’, a ridiculously infectious track with a guitar riff that bears more than a passing resemblance to Squeeze’s ‘Up The Junction’.

Given time, this five-piece should have enough material to do a full headline slot justice. For now though, it’s part absolute killer, but a little too much filler.


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