Monday, February 14, 2011
Buy One, Get One Free!
Freelance Whales and Broken Records in de Melkweg, February 9th
Why both bands were on the same bill is still a mystery but America's Freelance Whales and Scotland's Broken Records played the old Melkweg room last wednesday. Different bands with a different sound. But if you liked both bands it was 2 for the price of 1.
Freelance Whales debut "Weathervanes" is a rich, smart album in line with other Ivy League groups like Vampire Weekend, Bishop Allen, MGMT etc. Wellcrafted songs, good lyrics and use of instruments that don't fit the standard rock format. Xylophones, keyboards, harmonies. Freelance Whales' strength is the quality of their songs that are full of MGMT/Clap Your Hands easy but effective keyboard licks mixed with some Vampire Weekend doing Graceland, Sufjan Steven's melody lines and Postal Service interplay of keyboards and vocals. It's not an overpowering rock band but a group of people who want the songs the speak for themselves, and they do.
Different and effective in a very different manner are Broken Records from Scotland. They have been around a little while longer and that shows with a mature set. Touring in support of their latest, and great, album they showed that good songs can be made great if played right. Singer Jamie Sutherland's contact with the audience was engaging and confident. Funny stories about German interviews followed. Broken Records are one of the many amazing bands coming out of Scotland with a similar style and emotionality; We Were Promised Jetpacks, Twilight Sad and Frightened Rabbit to name but a few. Broken Records has the addition of a violion that thanks to use of pedals never becomes a classic edition but an extra layer of sound.
Both bands might have had little in common, but seeing both live shows the many faces of rock and roll and the power of alternative music today.