Vancouver's Said The Whale has been on a steady upward trajectory for the past six years, as relentless touring and a prolific string of releases have led to successes including a JUNO Award in 2011 for New Group of the Year and nationally charting singles. In 2013, the tireless five-piece — which includes dual songwriters Tyler Bancroft and Ben Worcester, drummer Spencer Schoening, keyboardist Jaycelyn Brown and bassist Nathan Shaw — will continue to break down doors by releasing its most adventurous and hook-filled batch of songs yet.
The band formed in early 2007 and, following some early EPs, released the debut-full length Howe Sounds/Taking Abalonia in 2008. Said The Whale began to amass a grassroots following through frequent tours, and they scored a string of Canadian radio successes with the albums Islands Disappear (2009) and Little Mountain (2012). These albums earned attention from media outlets like Spin, BBC 6 Music, and Consequence of Sound, and the band was profiled in the nationally televised CBC documentary Winning America. Said The Whale were nominated for two more JUNO Awards in 2013 for Alternative Album of the Year and Recording Package of the Year (alongside art director Andy Dixon) for Little Mountain.
Having already released the three-song I Love You EP on June 4, the band are keeping with their inexhaustible work ethic, announcing their latest full-length album hawaiii is set for release on September 17, 2013, on Hidden Pony Records. Intentionally using a lower-case ‘h’ and ending in a trifecta of ‘i’s’ the band wanted to put some distance and distinction between the sun-filled U.S. State, so far from their Vancouver, BC home base. The album title also mirrors the different way Said The Whale assembled this new album. Singer/songwriter Tyler Bancroft noted: “Instead of booking a solid block of time to record the entire album, we did it in short bursts over a period of six months. The time in between sessions allowed us to reflect on what we'd recorded, to tour and road-test some of the songs, and to continue writing.”
The twelve track album has already seen first single and EP namesake “I Love You” become the biggest song at radio the band has had to date in Canada and the U.S. “I Love You” is currently being played at over 30 stations coast-to-coast in the U.S. It’s achieved #1 Phones and is in POWER Rotation at the influential station KNRK in Portland as well as solid rotation at Sirius’ “Alt Nation,” Seattle’s KNDD (the End), and Live 105 in San Francisco. “I Love You” has seen unprecedented love at Canadian radio having held the #3 spot at Mediabase Alternative Rock for over 5 weeks and is currently being played on The Edge, The Peak, The Shore, Sonic, The Zone, Live 105 Halifax and more – it’s spanning the country – and the video for the track is just seeing finishing touches will be released soon.
With hawaiii, the band return to long-time collaborator Tom Dobrzanski (The Zolas, We Are The City) with band member Tyler Bancroft stepping up into the role of co-producer. The record was mixed by Gus Van Go and Werner F (Stills, Rah Rah). The new material was penned in a surge of creativity that found Bancroft and Worcester letting their guard down and following their instincts. "My songs on this album are the most vulnerable songs I've ever written," notes Bancroft. "Lyrically it's the most honest I've ever been."
The signature sun-filled, hook-heavy vocal harmonies Said The Whale are known so well for, prevail over the album's tracklisting, but alongside a notable sense of darker, serious subjectmatter and self-reflection. From the Ben Worcester lead vocals on album-closer “The Weight of the Season” to Bancroft’s heavy-hearted tribute to his mother and how he, as an adult, comes to grips with an aging parent, on “Helpless Son.” The up-tempo numbers abound with “Mother” and “On The Ropes” as well as the dreamy new sounds on tracks like “Resolutions.” The band, as any great band does, continues to evolve. hawaiii is the sound of a band already on the top of its game breaking free from all expectations and boldly reinventing its identity.