I'm stating the obvious here, but I find that my favorite bands often lead me to some of the best musical discoveries. In the case of Utah's The Devil Whale, I'd probably still be in the dark if it weren't for The Head And The Heart. Now, it wasn't the fact that they toured together recently, nor the fact that members of the Seattle band sing on The Devil Whale's "Magic Numbers" that tipped me off. Nope, it was a lucky click on The Head And The Heart's myspace "Friends" section about 6 months ago that led me to The Devil Whale's bandcamp page where they were streaming an unmastered version of "Teeth". I sat slack-jawed, hanging on every word, anticipating every note - the way you listen to an album when you know that one day you'll think back and remember the first time you heard it. A few days later the stream was removed, and all I had was fading memories of this mysterious album that captured my attention and left me waiting for May 24th when the album would be released.
After one spin of Teeth I remembered why I was so floored the first time I'd heard it. Shimmering psych-pop that bounces with 60s/70s nostalgia, folky grit and rock n' roll swagger. The album opens with "Golden", a sunny and soulful tune; all sugar-sweet melody with a hint of crunchy guitars (hmm sounds like a cereal ad). "Indian" starts in murkier psych territory before exploding into a soaring chorus that pulls you along for the ride. On "Werewolf Army" songwriter Brinton Jones dials up the introspection, with a chorus of "Honey you're too closed off / I can't come in". "Magic Numbers" puts it all together and with that, I'm sold. Bouncy piano psych pop, sweeping melodies and introspective, powerful songs.
The record gets stronger as it goes - picking up momentum and solidifying its strengths. The relentless stomp of "Earthquake Dreams", the radio-friendly playfulness of "Barracudas" the tossed-off campfire singalong "The Road To Hell". A complete album in both concept and execution and one of my favorite listens of the year so far.