Editor's note: strong language warning for As Long As Your Eyes Are Wide.
“I feel complete but I don’t know yet,” goes the break on “More than Ever,” the second track on Said the Whale’s new album, As Long as Your Eyes Are Wide. It’s a perfect line that sums up the sunny but unflinching self-reflection that accompanies one’s late-20s/ early-30s. Those heavy meditations on what it means to be a grownup and the sensation of catching up with our parents, bosses, authority figures, and realizing that adulthood is nothing like what we imagined as kids.
As Long As Your Eyes Are Wide (out March 31 via Hidden Pony and streaming now via the CBC Music player) marks Said the Whale’s 10th anniversary. The Vancouver-based band, which was cofounded by co-singer-songwriters Tyler Bancroft and Ben Worcester, has weathered its share of changes over this decade — members leaving, marriage (the sweetly profane “I Will Follow”), babies and death (affecting gloom-pop single “Heaven”) — but the introspection isn’t an anchor dragging their sound backwards. Instead, they play with a lot of layers and textures, sonically and thematically, and it might be their best effort yet.
With a return to the core three — including keyboardist Jaycelyn Brown, who joined Bancroft and Worcester in 2008 — Said the Whale sounds revitalized. There’s a freedom and vitality in the music, but also something more cohesive about the new spaces the members are exploring together. Sometimes the results are devastating, like the propulsive, fuzzed-out, tender-hearted “Miscarriage,” but mostly it’s a freeform dance party, like the late-night synth-pop of “Confidence” and the thumping grandeur of closing track “Lilac and Willow.”
As Long As Your Eyes Are Wide will be released March 31. Pre-order it here.
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