Less is more! Of course, not when it comes to weed, but if you’re in the kitchen frying up a whale steak or something, sometimes it only takes a couple of chefs to complete the task. That is exactly what we have here from Denver, Colorado’s high energy Rocker duo IN THE WHALE. I’ve seen a sudden surge in two person bands as of late, and I have taken more than a few hits wondering about the sound amplitude and song composition coming from these two-piece bands. No wondering here. With the combining of some outlandish sounds from the past and future that can be compared to Reverend Horton Heat, Sha Na Na, and Iggy Pop (aka Rev-Sha-Pop), IN THE WHALE has put together a fun and original-sounding full-length EP that raises the bong to new highs.
After Nate Valdez (vocals and guitar) and Eric Riley (drums and backing vocals) formed the band in 2011, IN THE WHALE released their first EP “Cake” in 2012, which was followed by another EP “Eric” in the fall of 2013. During the ensuing period spent aligning themselves for their next album, the band also witnessed Colorado leading the nation as the first state to legalize marijuana, along with 2014 Superbowl champion, Washington state. Subsequently, IN THE WHALE was tuned and poised for a banner year, releasing “Nate” in late spring, and releasing “Nate & Eric” on June 24th, 2014, combining the two as one whole spliff to whale on. Although “Nate & Eric” embarks with a serious Rock perspective, the album keeps a fun, somewhat frivolous, and completely entertaining vibe throughout the entire EP, ensuring tunes that come off as original and fresh.
Opening track “Robert Johnson” begins the album with what feels like a tune that came straight from an old Rock ‘N Roll punk-rock infused juke-joint, if we had those. Heavy drum and vocal rhythms with timely backends, combined with some 5o’s greaser loud Rock is basically what you can expect. The second tune “Wedding Bells” is a short, just-over-a-minute stone drenched in the duo’s “Rev-Sha-Pop” formula sound. Closing the “Nate” side of the EP, tunes “Lake Of Fire” and “Grandpa Pete” bring some seriously heavy riffs, vocals and drumming fused with the alt “Rev-Sha-Pop” feel that IN THE WHALE owns. Side two (the Eric side) of the album gives us “On a Roll,” a riff and groove heavy Rock ‘N Roll sing-a-long tune that IN THE WHALE “swears will make you born again.” One of the main reasons IN THE WHALE’s new album “Nate and Eric” resinated with me is simply due to their originality and in today’s world that is sometimes hard to find. This couldn’t be any more obvious than in the next heavy-sided “Rev-Sha-Pop” tune, “Girlfriend.” Ending on a mysterious, heavy, groove-killing note, “Sunbeam” blends all things combustible with haunting backing keyboards, landing the band somewhere in Metal territory.
The album is great. With all things original, a lot of Rock ‘N Roll, excellent musicianship, and balanced vocals, “Nate & Eric” is a tough doobie to put out. IN THE WHALE is still in the early stages of their career, but judging from the quality of “Nate & Eric,” you can expect the duo to be around for quite a while. This is definitely some high-grade stuff put together with an original “Rev-Sha-Pop” groove Rock sound, and we give it a solid 420. IN THE WHALE has played with renowned bands such as The Reverend Horton Heat, Agent Orange and Slash, and they are on tour now, so be sure to look for them in your town soon. Exploring new bands and music genres is a good thing, and IN THE WHALE drives this point home. I like to say you can’t put a word on these dudes – it takes 420 words for that!
“Nate and Eric”
1. “Robert Johnson”
2. “Wedding Bells”
3. “Lake Of Fire”
4. “Grandpa Pete”
5. “On a Roll”