This week sees the release of the Nate & Eric, a fireball of rock ‘n’ roll from US duo In The Whale. The album is actually the putting together of the band’s last two EPs and if they have escaped your attention this is an encounter you should urgently add to your collection of crucial sounds. As eclectic as they are ferociously contagious, the songs making up the release are encounters bred in everything from old school rock ‘n’ roll and punk through to blues, garage rock, and plenty more. It is uncompromising, honest, balls out rock ‘n’ roll, and quite simply irresistible.
Formed in 2011, the Denver band consists of Nate Valdez (vocals and guitar) and Eric Riley (drums and backing vocals), a pair which much like Canadians The Black Frame Spectacle, turn two sources of roaring instrumentation into a full-on rapacious beast of sound and energy. In 2012 In The Whale unleashed debut EP Cake, a well-received proposition which was followed by a just as impressive live presence, which has seen the band play with the likes of Murder by Death, Local H, Reverend Horton Heat, and Electric Six as well as The Airborne Toxic Event, Agent Orange, Bob Log III, The Pack A.D. and Slash. Second EP Eric hit ears in the latter stages of 2013 with its successor Nate being unveiled earlier this year. Now the last EPs come together to create one of the most inspiring and mouthwatering propositions of 2014.
Nate & Eric opens up with the Nate tracks, and specifically Robert Johnson. From its first breath a flame of energy and intensity hits the ears through intermittent strikes of raw riffs and punching beats beneath the equally imposing vocal call of Valdez. Bluesy air oozes from all aspects too before the track settles into a predatory dance of raucous riffs and anthemic rhythms to which the vocals burn and roar passionately. The track is like a mix of the previously mentioned Canadians, Reverend Horton Heat, and Eagles of Death Metal, and just as devilish as that mixture suggests. It is Devil music and unapologetically irreverent in its infectiousness and psyche twisting charm.
If the starter was mercilessly tempting than the following Wedding Bells should be labelled as dangerous, its initial southern psychobilly twang toxic bait to which the band erupts into a garage punk enslavement with impossibly addictive pop punk relish. For less than a minute and a half, the track stomps with nagging rhythms and agitated riffs, leading into a ridiculously commanding chorus; this all under the again gripping vocals of Valdez. It is a fiery mix that Valdez and Riley conjure; alchemy of sound sculpted with an adrenaline fuelled inventive voracity through simply one predacious guitar, an antagonism lit drum kit, and flaming vocals.
Both the hard rocking Lake of Fire with its again blues kissed rabidity and the feverish brawl of Grandpa Pete keep passions and ears greedy, the first a frenetic blaze of stoner-esque heavy rock with punk urges. Acidic melodies and darkly shadowed chords equally add their potency to the fire dance, hooks and grooves just as prevalent and mischievously compelling too. There is a little tint of Wall of Voodoo to the song, though admittedly for indefinable reasons whilst its successor is pure punk revelry with metallic appetite. Holding a touch of I Am Duckeye and Melvins in its barging garage punk tenacity and devilment, the track is pure aural addiction.
The Eric half of the album begins with On A Roll and immediately a scrub of blues guitar swiftly joined by muscular rhythms and honky-tonk piano covers the senses. As Valdez opens up the narrative everything settles into an ordered yet disruptive canvas of unpredictable rhythms and searing melodies beneath those dramatically expressive vocals. There is a rich feel of Queens Of The Stone Age to the riot but only as a potent spice in a loudly individual proposition. Its triumph is followed by the best track on the release, The Clash seeded Girlfriend. Beats set out a plain but gripping frame for both men to lay down their anthemic vocal call before the track explodes into a blistering punk temptation. The Vibrators meets Rocket From The Crypt with that Strummer and co blooding, the song is an incendiary trap to dive into head first for the greatest pleasure and lustful satisfaction.
The release closes with Sunbeam where again the pair step into a stoner landscape but this time with coarse rock ‘n’ roll and seventies garage rock scenery. It is a smouldering abrasing of sound and sonic tempting, keys again adding richer colour to the riveting and shifting terrain of the magnetic provocation. It is a glorious end to a sensational release, as mentioned one which if the EPs individually have evaded your sweaty hands, is a must have, do not dawdle purchase. In The Whale expels rock ‘n’ roll in its purest yet adventurous form, a furnace to get persistently and brilliantly burnt by; the proof is all there on Nate & Eric.
The self-released Nate & Eric is available now!
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