If strength comes in numbers, Or, the Whale is one rockin’, peaceful army. Hailing from San Francisco, the alt-country-folk-rock group of seven authentically transmits a powerfully captivating, ’60s throwback vibe that succeeds in peeling free the raw depths of heart and soul.
Juicy bass and the wonderful warp of steel guitar complement Or, The Whale’s harmony-thick, taut but glowing arrangements. Leading the group with their amazingly compatible voices are Alex Robins (vocals, guitar, banjo) and Lindsay Garfield (vocals, percussion). Garfield holds the gravity of Joan Baez, serious and velvety in vocal character, while Robins shines rock, present and clear in voice. Together, with the help of Matt Sartain (vocals, guitar, harmonica, mandolin), Julie Ann Thomasson (vocals, keyboards, percussion), Justin Fantl (bass), Jesse Hunt (drums) and Tim Marcus (pedal steel), they create wonderfully endearing, substance rich ballads, pregnant with human condition and an overall kind, good vibe.
Rusty Gold, my favorite of the bunch, works tearjerkering like nobody’s business. It opens with “My dog died and it broke my heart,” and further impresses with the chorus: “Death is Rusty Gold.” And that’s only the beginning of a seriously heartwrenching tune laden with group harmonies, potently ominous like a brewing storm.
Or, The Whale’s compositions reach from fiery & upbeat (Call and Response) to steady, mellow-lovely (Prayer for the Road). No Death embodies true folk character, strong in simple repetition of a twangy string line, taking its time immersed in deep territory, earthy and devoid of fear.
The group oozes genuine being not only through their music but also in person. They extend their personal touch to the adventures on their blog, where you can find suprises that could include anything from kittens to snackfood recommendations.
Listen to the Exclusive live tracks (option/click to download):