Friday, October 4, 2013

The Lighthouse and the Whaler: This is an Adventure

The Lighthouse and the Whaler.  This is an Adventure.
Self-released, 2012.   The Lighthouse and the Whaler:
The Lighthouse and the Whaler is a band of merry bibliophiles in the great city of Cleveland and they have the worst website I have ever seen. Seriously, really awful, change that font color, but keep the bios, those are spectacular. Despite the unforgivable but common sin of an illegible website, I have enjoyed the Lighthouse and the Whaler since their first full length album came out in 2009. This is An Adventure is an excellent follow up with catchy and melodic songs that give the impression of sweeping landscapes drifting past car windows and rolled down windows.
The Lighthouse and the Whaler could be a brooding band but often swing the other way, with chirpy keyboard work and soft tenor vocals that lacks a lot of the drudge and drag and namelessness that many bands in this category manifest. They’re like the Lumineers on Prozac only with better use of hand claps and drum beats. Songs like “Pioneer,” “Chromatic,” and “This is An Adventure” are really full pop songs that are excellent use of traditionally annoying keyboard sounds. Congrats, gentlemen, you’ve used a keyboard as a solid base with great ornamentation, and even melted my cold, cold heart with your love song “Venice.” I’ve put it on about three playlists so far. Lighthouse also has this uncanny ability to not fall into gimmicks. They sound vaguely like eight things I have heard but strip away things I don’t like about all of them and keep the parts I like. They’re a Frankenstein Monster of musical composition and manage to borrow elements from bands like Bright Eyes and Death Cab for Cutie without seeming like a copy or falling into Conor Oberst’s self-indulgence.
While the band name is taken from Moby Dick, I didn’t really pick up on an overall story to this album. But the album had a great musical arch. Each song led into the next one without seeming too similar or riding the coattails of the surrounding songs. I did lose interest in “Untitled” and it felt a tad like a song that wasn’t as strong as the rest (as indicated by the fact that it didn’t have a title) and the album could have worked just fine without it. The vocals of Michael LoPresti compliment the overall compositions so well and I am choosing to forgive him for his love of jean cut off shorts. It’s hard to find one instrument or musician that stands clearly above the rest. There is no Slash dominating the spotlight. Lighthouse presents as a very united and equally matched set of musicians that collaborate beautifully. I feel there is a craftsmanship that exists in this group, a delicate and steady hand in each piece that doesn’t allow anyone to overpower the music. It will be a pleasure to see where their sound takes them.
Personnel:  Michael LoPresti, Mark Poro, Matthew LoPresti, Steven Diaz, Aaron Smith.
Tracks:  Pioneers, Chromatic, Venice, The Adriatic, Little Vessels, Burst Apart, This is an Adventure, Iron Doors, We’ve Got the Most, Untitled.

Lauren Parker

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