Album Review: Galactopus by Arson Whales is due out July 7th

The 21st century has been marked by the continued expansion of the musical universe, with bands like Arson Whales rocketing to the forefront of the alt-rock scene. The ensemble, formed in the midst of the global pandemic in 2021, stands as a testament to resilience and innovation. The band’s upcoming album, “Galactopus,” set to release on July 7th, you can pre-save the album here now, offers a stunning new chapter in their musical journey.

Arson Whales—comprising Linda Brancato, Joe Kimberlin, and Brad Penner with an assist from Kevin O’Shaughnessy on lead guitar for “Spirit in a Worm Hole”—beautifully marry the genres of psychedelic rock, nu-disco, and indie rock. The band’s strength lies in their collective experience and ability to blend disparate sounds into a cohesive, stimulating sonic experience. Linda Brancato’s distinctively raspy voice serves as the lighthouse amidst the churning ocean of the band’s intricate soundscape, guiding listeners through the album’s diverse tracks.

“Galactopus” opens with “Monkey Jar,” a song that immediately sets the tone of the album. The vivid, imaginative lyrics hint at human evolution and cyclical history. Its whimsical wordplay coupled with powerful instrumentation propels the listener into a dreamlike state, laying the groundwork for the songs to follow. The repetition of the lyrics “this has all happened before” sets a pattern for the cyclical nature of life—a theme that reverberates throughout the album.

In the second track, “Upside Down,” the group explores existentialism against the backdrop of an intense musical arrangement. The lyrics explore themes of loss and longing. The phrase “A hole is a weight upside down” strikes as an unusual but fitting metaphor for the absence of something or someone, which lends weight to one’s life.

“Gray Dorian” and “Reverse the Rule” follow next, pushing boundaries even further. The former is a clever play on Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” while the latter delves into existential dilemmas with lyrics that challenge the perception of reality.

As the album progresses, Arson Whales proves their proficiency in creating a diverse soundscape. “Zephyr and the Sycophant” brings an anthemic, invigorating energy to the mix, with lyrics that are simultaneously playful and profound. The line “Monkey king / Make her sing” perhaps nods to the absurdity of societal hierarchies, a subject beautifully juxtaposed with the song’s catchy rhythm and buoyant harmonies.

“Spirit in a Wormhole” brings an element of cosmic mystique. The line “We’ll get there faster if we don’t know” comes across as a paradox but, upon reflection, resonates with the experience of life’s unpredictable journey.

“Finding Betsy Dar” is a poignant expression of longing and loss, with space and astronomy metaphors conveying the vast distance between the protagonist and the object of their desire. This emotional depth is carefully balanced by the high-energy tracks “This Chimera” and “Sonic Eclipse,” which serve as musical adrenaline shots with their quick tempos and driving beats.

The penultimate track, “Whales Fall,” is a powerful piece of introspective melancholy with its evocative lyrics and moody instrumentals. It presents a beautiful metaphor of whales falling, perhaps representing the inevitability of endings and the profound impact of loss.

The album ends with “Blackhole,” a space-rock ballad that brings the cosmic voyage of “Galactopus” to a fitting close. The lyrics speak of existential crises, brought to life by a stellar sonic backdrop. It leaves the listener in a trance, contemplating the infinite space within and beyond us, and the myriad experiences that fill it.

In “Galactopus,” Arson Whales exhibits an impressive ability to connect the personal and the cosmic, the particular and the universal. Their songs tap into both the minutiae of human experience and the grandeur of the universe, masterfully blending the two. Their lyrical depth is only rivalled by their innovative musicianship.

The production quality is top-notch, further enhancing the musical journey. The album cover, a galactic octopus swirling through the cosmos, perfectly encapsulates the album’s theme.

This is a band that knows how to push boundaries while retaining their unique sound. With their latest album, Arson Whales has yet again proven that they are not just musicians—they are poets, philosophers, and innovators who make the universe dance to their tunes. I look forward to their future contributions to the musical cosmos.

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