WHALE BONES // ISLAND FIRE
Written by Kayla Albee
Island Fire, the follow up album to 2015's The Seaside EP, is clean cut and crisp, like an early winter morning. With a polished quality that's consistent throughout, and an instrumental sound that crescendos like an ocean wave, it's surprising to learn that Whale Bones consists of only two full time members, vocalist / guitarist Nathan Kane and drummer Paul Lierman.
Kane wrote, produced, engineered, mixed, and mastered the album, so it's safe to say that he and Lierman tailored each detail to their liking, in turn presenting Island FIre the way that it was intended to be, rather than having lots of hands in the project.
The track "Inaction" has subtle pop-punk undertones, most notably in the catchy chorus of "I don’t want to see the end / because I don’t want to break your heart / So I don’t want to see the start / because I don’t want us to part." At times throughout the album, there are soft nods to post-hardcore influences, particularly riff wise, while keeping the vocals on the clean side and sticking with a primarily alternative indie sound.
Religious undertones rise up on certain tracks ("Because I’m trusting in your patience and I know you’ll help me see this straight again / Maybe I’m a better person and I’m not deserving of how I repent" - "The Warmth") and give insight into the experiences behind the lyrics, but do not over power the songs, thus leaving the ultimate interpretation of each track up to the individual listener.
Nothing about Island FIre seems sloppy, or like an afterthought. Although Nathan's lyrics do dip into depressive and introspective waters, they're not self loathing, and in turn, maintain maturity while still demonstrating humility.
Minimal lyrics streamline the delivery of the message enclosed in each track, especially in the title track, "Island Fire." Vulnerability is a consistent theme, and one that, frankly, we need more of. Uncertainty, doubt, and need are real, and they're uncomfortable to experience. Kane's honesty and humbleness drive the record home.
You can read our review of "Backyard" by Whale Bones here, and watch the music video below!