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Album review: Heavy synths glow for Freelance Whales on “Diluvia”

I fell in love with Freelance Whales for the first time one summer. Its music reminds me of a big white house with acres of a backyard, wind on my face, spiral staircases and driving with the windows down. I fell in love with Freelance Whales for the second time on Tuesday.

The band released its second album, “Diluvia” Tuesday, and it’s about time. Its previous album dropped nearly three years ago, and ever since I’ve been craving new music from the New York-based indie band.

If you could look at a Freelance Whales song, I feel like it would glow. There is this unmistakable aura about the music and Judah Dadone’s and Doris Cellar’s vocals that tends to be bubbly and soothing at the same time.

“Land Features,” the album’s second track, comes in with a plucky guitar beat, blending beautifully into soft vocals, drums and a bit of synthesizer. Following closely behind, the climactic ambient noise in the beginning of “Follow Through” had me almost convinced I was listening to Passion Pit, and the song is easily an instant favorite.

Cellar comes in on “Spitting Image,” a fun track that pits her vocals in a swirl of guitar and synthesizer. “Locked Out” is a powerful track that takes hold of the listener, a song that demands full attention and “Dig Into Waves” continues the album’s streak of radiant instrumentals and vocals. “At first I was sleeping / Now I’m floating down the hill,” Dadone sings. That floating feeling is the effect Freelance Whales’ music is so good at producing.

“Red Star” contrasts the songs that came before it by beginning slowly with carefully sung vocals, followed by “Winter Seeds,” another slow choral track with a feeling of fantasy woven in.
“Diluvia” ends on a high note with “DNA Bank” and “Emergence Exit.” The former is a beautiful, lyrically-driven track in which Dadone promises, “And we will never find ourselves alone again.” The latter continues the album’s ethereal feel, climaxing into urgent strings and perfectly placed guitar strums.

Freelance Whales produced another album laced with positivity and airy grandeur. “Diluvia” is the kind of release that might take over its listener, as it is best listened to without conversation or distraction, in order to fully appreciate its beauty.

Grade: A

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