A lo-fi charmer from Risk Walen will be here tomorrow, June 1st. Titled Whaler's Ink, the album is a dozen tracks cut on a farm in Efland, NC with a barn serving as the control room and the reverb found in an empty grain silo as the only effects processing. With feelings as calm and serene as the album's rustic backdrop summarizing my listen, the purpose for such a stripped down production became apparent; Katharine Whalen's uniquely powerful voice commands its own attention. A studio with compressors, limiters, lasers, and equalizers would be a distraction.
Softly raspen and delicately enchanting, Whalen remains gently aloft in a breeze of lullabies throughout the majority of the album. Acoustic guitar and cautious percussion flow just out of reach but no less aware of their role, and give the vocals a stream to drift upon. Stand out tracks are "Rabbit King" which is first to introduce Whalen's unique vocal and serves as vanguard for the aesthetic of the recording. And, "Bend Me a Line" which is a heart-breakingly conscious image of the quiet tragedy that scorned love can leave in its wake.
The album rounds itself out with a few folk stompers chanted in Brian Risk's baritone, and an equal number of instrumentals whose softly strummed melodies may still be ghosting around the limestone bricks of the silo where they were recorded. --Carrboro Ninja
listen to: "Bend Me a Line"