Band: Whale Fall
CD Title: The Madrean
Label: Independent Release (2015)
Rating: Satisfying 3/5
This Los Angeles based quintetís sophomore release is sure to please. The fifty-seven minutes of music is split over eight instrumental compositions all thematically linked to evoke the area known as The Madrean, an area that spans the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. The music is cinematic in nature, composed in mostly longer tracks, seven to nine minutes in length and as such they ebb and flow, building in intensity and then reducing to near pastoral movements. The band lists Italian movie music composer Ennio Morricone as an influence and certainly that feel is reflected in the use of Mariachi trumpet throughout that goes a long way to locating the music to a place. Over the course of the disc the band who play the traditional instruments a band like this would play also incorporate cello, saxophone and piano. Each of these songs plays with a number moving melody lines that often change course during the songís development and in most cases the music builds and builds to a breaking point before subsiding. There are many moments of grand, even bombastic swells of music providing great dynamic contrast to the moodier moments. The bandís goal, of evoking visual images of the area known as the Madrean, through the use of sound is handily accomplished I think. Sitting and listening to this music it is impossible not to have images pop into your head from old Clint Eastwood western movies. At the same time the music has a rock foundation of sorts that fitís hand in glove to the musicís purpose. All in all itís a very satisfying listen.