And now for something completely different!
Welcome, dear readers, to a long-overdue edition of a regrettably infrequent segment we like to call "Is it metal? Who cares?" It's the part of the show where we openly admit that everyone likes different types of music, and thereby acknowledge that pigeonholing one's listening habits is nothing more than an exercise in stagnation.
Indeed, while we do often focus the limelight on loud and/or angry music, this particular population of slumbering scribes knows a thing or two about enjoying a well-crafted and otherwise highly listenable tune. Case in point: the latest single from Oakland-based solo artist James Utterback, who has been finely crafting a debut indie/psych/prog/surf rock album for the better part of 15 years under the Fire Whale moniker. "Serenity Within Chaos" has been on heavy repeat 'round these parts for the better part of a month, and we're honored to share it with you here today. Give it a listen below, and, as always, we'll catch ye on the other side!
"Serenity Within Chaos" is a wonderful track, plain and simple. The instrumentation is immersive and crisp, with the prominent tabla drums lending the whole affair a certain softness. There's also something undeniably comfortable about the vocals, which are lightfooted and gentle and sweet, but not saccharine smooth. The moments where James launches into the anthemic chorus are powerful without feeling overstated or oversaturated, providing a level of emotion that feels genuine rather than staged for the sake of expectation. The track itself operates very much like an indie rock song in its gradual build and release, yet simultaneously maintains its own blissful identity. It's a very nice balance, and a very nice niche.
Music aside, the pure concept of "Serenity Within Chaos" appeals deeply. Despite spending every waking hour searching for a little peace and quiet, I spend much of my time embroiled in sensory experiences that are, for all intents and purposes, a little bit too much. There's a little paradoxical nugget of serenity hiding in the midst of chaos, and, for what it's worth, if you too are plumbing those depths, I wish you safe travels. That said, I'll always recommend taking an opportunity to explore some lighter fare, and Fire Whale is most certainly a prime candidate. I'll be listening to this track 'till the album comes out, and I hope you join me in doing so.
Fire Whale - "Serenity Within Chaos" will be released Nov. 19th.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasant.