Live review: Freelance Whales, The New Pornographers @ Oran Mor, Glasgow

I’ve been waiting a long time for this – FREELANCE WHALES standing barely six feet in front of me, doing live versions of songs from the album I’ve been obsessing over all year.

The New York quintet immediately take the sequential route, playing Weathervanes’ opening three tracks in order – Generator ^ First Floor, the lush synthpop of Hannah and gorgeously pulsing ballad Location.

Often all five members harmonise with serene effect, but with Judah Dadone cast in the role of frontman, it’s noticeable that his singing voice doesn’t quite have the same quirky squeak it does on record.

The intricacies that make Weathervanes such a go-back-to listen can’t help but turn their live set into enchantment as lesser-spotted instruments are swapped, with Doris Cellar flitting between bass and harmonium, Chuck Criss occasionally favouring the rush of glockenspiel, and breakouts of banjo on delicate songs such as Broken Horse.

They end with Generator ^ Second Floor, and a rare opportunity to cut loose on electric guitar, which really is as boisterous as Freelance Whales get.

THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS are an altogether less twee prospect, and one I have to confessing being far less familiar with, despite a celebrated career now spanning five albums.

But the meaty guitar licks and hooks of the Vancouver collective are deeply addictive and each time I think about calling it a night, song after song pulls me back into their world.

The irresistibly dippy Crash Years, which prompts a spot of impressive mid-song whistling, sounds like vintage Fleetwood Mac, while Your Hands (Together) is an almost wilfully unfashionable slab of retro-rock.

Borrowing from the past is clearly something The New Pornographers do rather well, although one would hope that the riff of Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk which bears an uncanny resemblance to Black Eyed Peas’ infinitely more irritating I Gotta Feeling is purely coincidence.

Freelance Whales – Hannah

The New Pornographers – Crash Years

7 Responses to “Live review: Freelance Whales, The New Pornographers @ Oran Mor, Glasgow”

  1. Loft and Lost Says:

    September 9th, 2010 at 07:43

    Nice review of Freelance Whales – I’m glad someone else out there likes them! They seem to have been getting a bit of a kicking by some of the big blogs out there. They are wrong. One of the albums of the year, I reckon.

  2. justpassingthrough Says:

    September 9th, 2010 at 10:23

    Wow… that really must have been some impressive whistling from Neko considering she wasn’t there.

  3. The Pop Cop Says:

    September 9th, 2010 at 10:28

    Ha-ha, I did say I wasn’t very familiar with them! I’ve just edited out the mention of Neko to sound less stupid…

  4. Adam. Says:

    September 9th, 2010 at 12:59

    Did Dan Bejar play with the new pornogarphers?
    He would have been the drunk coming on and off the stage. big busy hair/beard.
    Off to end of the road and want to know if he will be with them.

  5. The Pop Cop Says:

    September 9th, 2010 at 13:12

    Man, I really should have brushed up on my NP members before writing this review! Judging by your description of Dan, I’m going to plump for ‘no’.

  6. Adam. Says:

    September 9th, 2010 at 16:37

    Shit – thats s a shame. You should brush up on Dans solo stuff called Destroyer. it is good.

  7. Big D Says:

    September 13th, 2010 at 20:37

    Judah Dadone….. great studio voice.

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