I recently received a submission to the site from a band that gave me nostalgic memories. I was immediately brought back to my high school years upon listening to Whale Bones’ latest EP “The Seaside.” In no way is this meant to date the band’s sound, but is instead a reflection of how my music taste has evolved over the years. This sentiment was echoed when I noticed a completely different band I used to listen to was touring close to home. It’s that alternative rock, post-rock, and dare I say post-hardcore sound that flooded my mind when I thought of that band, and immediately flared a desire to recreate that sonic experience. Insert “The Seaside,” a deep and thoughtful album that has reignited my youth, even if only for a moment.
Released a couple months back, “The Seaside” is Whale Bones’ first attempt at an album, and easily succeeds. Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Nathan Kane and drummer Paul Lierman, this duo from Indiana has won my heart over with their passionate playing. Inspired by their travels along the Floridian coast, “The Seaside” expounds on the emotions of self-regret and forgiveness. Using many keywords relating to the ocean, the album is a perfect illustration of its violent and calm nature, from the wave crashing drum hits to the calm and serene clean guitar arrangements. Lasting about 20 minutes, this album feels longer than it actually is, considering you can feel Whale Bones’ presence with every passing second.
The album begins with “The Current,” an accurately named track containing tranquil keyboard and guitar chords reminiscent of a stream of water. The drums are inserted halfway, slowly disturbing this stream with bombastic hits, only to settle back down by the song’s end. Next enters “Hiding From The Sea,” a chordy song with Kane’s vocals spotlighting the track. A voice similar to Casey Crescenzo of The Dear Hunter, Kane helps the listener to remember past mistakes and the emotion we felt in overcoming those mistakes. The track slows in tempo near the end, with a last melancholic plea for help.
This somber mood runs into “I Can’t Live Again,” again with Kane on the forefront and keyboard tones behind him. His conversational deliverance of the verse reminds me a lot of Leighton Antelman of Lydia, the king of storytelling. This method is so effective, and helps the listener to feel like the dialogue is happening in front of them. The song picks back up after a minute, with a cymbal-happy drum beat, grungy guitar chords, and the album’s first guitar solo in the bridge section. This song by far shows the best display of Lierman on the drum set, full of precision and passion.
“Exhausted Forgiveness” contains the only track on the EP with the acoustic guitar, something I yearned for throughout listening to this album. Because of the quiet, yet subtle nature of this album, I wished there were more moments highlighting the acoustic guitar, which helps in delivering the feelings Whale Bones is trying to create. The rest of the song is absolutely brilliant, and is endorsed as my favorite song off “The Seaside.” The guitar riffs a la As Cities Burn, the drum beats a la Arcane Roots, the handclapping and acoustic outro; It’s perfect. Closing off the album is the instrumental “title” track “Seaside,” a song full of atmosphere that would make Bon Iver proud. Lierman has the last say with his military-style snare drumming and quick beat bass stomping. After the song is over, the listener can’t help but recall that only two people created this remarkable album.
We need more duos like Whale Bones out there. This small ensemble has produced one inspiring album in “The Seaside,” an album that recalls my youth. The subject matter is also fitting, considering the regrets and forgiveness we all experience at such an age. This album is definitely worth a listen, and should be listened to if you have twenty minutes to spare. I’d recommend this album to fans of bands like As Cities Burn, Arcane Roots, Lydia, Thrice, The Fall of Troy, and The Receiving End of Sirens. Please support this band by checking out their Bandcamp page, and by following them on Facebook and Twitter pages for more information. If this is the material they can create on their first attempt at music, then the skies the limit for any of their future material. I will gladly await their next album, one I’m sure will be a work of art.
Check out their other band The Wise Man’s Fear here!