Mixing youthful optimism, dynamic instrumentation and introspective yet upbeat lyrics, The Lighthouse and The Whaler
engage listeners with themes on reflection and human connection on their sophomore album This Is An Adventure
. Here they expand from their folk-driven Cleveland, Ohio roots into an album full of possibility and confident anticipation. They weave together a less west coast, more mid-western and yet similar synth-pop vibe, a la Vampire Weekend, with an altogether jubilant sound that carries throughout the album and brings both lyrics and vocals to life in a vibrant and enjoyable way. Their vocals always on the upswing and melodies arcing towards the dance-able, these musicians have hit a stride that is both cutting edge and a mix of things listeners will find familiar.
The album opens with considerable force with tracks “Pioneers” and “Chromatic.” Both dynamic tunes, incorporating a wide range of synth-infused pop melodies and fast paced tempos are arguably the strongest and most enjoyable songs of the record. The high-flying pomp of the album’s beginning bridges neatly into the more anthemic center, with ballads like “The Adriatic” and “Little Vessels” offering a more mellow vibe seemingly influenced by favored memories. Both songs seem to marry synth-pop and indie-folk beautifully by adding stringed instruments, tambourines, and group harmonies that require a rewind to fully appreciate their construction. Songs like “Burst Apart” and “This Is An Adventure” taper off this mix while amping up the pop vibe with electric guitar solos alongside catchy hooks. They close the album with a sort of crescendo they spend most of their time building to, mixing their grasp of the anthemic alongside full inclusion of their strengths; passionate and multi-faceted instrumentation, glowing lyrics and soaring vocals supported by group harmonies that take listeners to the final seconds. This Is An Adventure
gives listeners a second look at a band that could have been typecast as “indie-folk;” however, they manage to successfully mix their roots with their ambitions to create a sonically enjoyable, altogether interesting and unpretentious sound. They bring the feel of a hard-working, corn-fed, “could-be-emo-but-we-decided-to-smile-instead” attitude and play with grit and passion. For those sensing a musical kinship with bands such as The Lumineers, you wouldn’t be far off, due to the handiwork of producer Ryan Hadlock, who, aside from The Lumineers also worked with Ra Ra Riot.
Though the record may trend on the self-indulgent due in part to its embrace of the emotional, it steers clear of the sappy, shoe-gazing, sad bastard themes that seem to give some bands a saccharine flavor and a flash in the pan inability to reproduce authentic work. Authenticity, among other things, drives this album, and this band, to bridge the gulf between west-coast sunshine-pop and mid-west folksy rock. With the energy of youth and the buoyancy of hope and possibility, The Lighthouse and The Whaler deliver here with an engaging sound that shows room to grow and mature and will hopefully carry forward and be enhanced by their solid production, passionate lyrics and innovative instrumentation.