Photo by Lindsay Davis
Here’s an interesting fact about actual whale bones: they aren’t as solid as the bones found in humans and other land-dwelling animals. They’re spongier and exists almost solely with for the sake of keeping the shape of these massive creatures as they float around in the closest thing that Earth has to zero-gravity: the ocean. That might not have anything do with music inherently, but it’s that same flexibility that can easily be applied to the Bloomington-based quartet of the same name. With the release of Island Fire, Indiana’s Whale Bones have shown that they’re a band that can adapt to the ever-changing scope of rock music while keeping true to the theatrical and bombastic songwriting that was present on their The Seaside EP.
The band cites Thrice and The Dear Hunter as songwriting influences, and the impact of those artists is apparent immediately. The vocal delivery comes packed with a saccharine kind of theatricality that helps bring the album to life. The amount of character that’s packed into the delivery of every lyric makes the entirety of Island Fire‘s content feel grandiose and important; you’re hanging on to every word, trying to take in every detail as it’s presented to you in fear of missing out on something that is integral to the experience as a whole.
When asked about the album, Whale Bones said: “Island Fire has been a very precious project for me. The past three years have been a process of writing and scrutinizing every aspect of the instrumentation and lyrics. The songs hold so much sentiment and express my perspective in the most concise and accurate way that I could share them. After finalizing all of the songwriting, it was time to capture the performance. The recording process is equally as tedious. I don’t like doing a lot of editing, so I had to take the time to get the perfect takes of everything. I ended up deleting all of my guitar takes for the first two songs because I was unhappy with my tone. In the end, I got exactly what I was looking for, and I couldn’t be happier with the result. It’s really fulfilling to produce your own record from start to finish.”
They continue, “This record focuses a lot on the ideas of fear and aloneness. I spent a lot of time reflecting and understanding my own perception of the world. Through that process, I was able to understand a lot about my surroundings and also gain a sense of acceptance for things outside of my control. I’ve grown a lot as a musician and as a person through the creation of this record, and I’m excited to share these snapshots of that journey with everyone. Hopefully, people will be able to relate and make sense of their own internal and external conflicts.”
You can stream Island Fire in full below.
The album is out today and is available for purchase here.