Those Lavender Whales: Tomahawk of Praise

Those Lavender Whales, tomahawk of praiseThose Lavender Whales: Tomahawk of Praise
Recorded over three years in a basement studio, Those Lavender Whales’ first full length effort, Tomahawk of Praise, is like the scrapbook of a much-loved, precocious child. Each clipping, each song, conveys something deeply felt, but it is conveyed without provision of the context of the experience that informs it. Songs build and swell, only to come to an abrupt and inconclusive finish, as is the case on “Fingertips”. The potential is clear, but the execution is uneven. The child may show promise, but conversation with the grown-ups cannot be sustained on promise alone.
Alternating between raucous, joyful tantrums and ultra-cute sleepyhead preciousness, the Nashville trio expresses boundless gratitude for their friends and family and fearfulness of Adulthood with a capital A. But these sentiments are conveyed as if bound by the rules that gratitude must remain constant, unwavering and unquestioned and that adulthood is a discrete point, beyond which there is no option to revisit carefree youth. In calculating everything with such simple math, the opportunity for conflict, drama, and, ultimately, resolution is missed. In tackling themes as big as raising children, losing faith, and being a family, subtle words carry much further than direct ones. “I just want to make my grandmother proud,” singer Aaron Graves intones on “Lions vs. Laziness”, before launching into stuffed-animal parade of toots, hoots, and yowls. Throughout the album, there is an aversion to hard choices, as if, once made, they are irreversible.
Taking a not quite lo-fi approach, clean but free of garish production, and employing every twee trope from ukuleles to ecstatic monkey howls, priority is given to fun and games. The songs are youthful in the most deliberate way, simple in structure and lyricism, favoring whimsy over complexity. The problem with this approach is that whimsy and complexity are not mutually exclusive. Neither are adulthood and fun. Compromises can be made to allow both. In employing every childlike affectation available, Those Lavender Whales cross the line into childishness, where whimsy is the whole of the offering. Part of growing up is realizing you can’t have all the toys.
Rating: 6.0/10
MP3: Those Lavender Whales “Lions Vs. Laziness”
Buy: Bandcamp