Living in the margin between the Postal Service and Sufjan Stevens is an awfully adorable business, but Freelance Whales manages to do it without being too vomit-inducing. Scant praise, and that's about right for the Queens quintet. There's some wonderful songcraft here, which keeps the Whales out of Owl City territory — but when your materials include glockenspiel and harmonium, you're going to sound like cartoons no matter how capable your melodies are. In some ways, the band is only guilty of being at the wrong place at the wrong time — subtract four or five years, and you've got a critical darling. Alas, the twee zeitgeist has ended. At this point, the band's biggest claim to fame is providing the soundtrack for a Twitter relaunch — though, again, that's probably somewhat beside the point. If you like wonderment and twinkling from your pop music, you could do much, much worse than Freelance Whales.
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