New York's Freelance Whales is another big, bustling band that collects instruments like kids used to collect Pokémon cards, then deploys them in ebullient arrangements of soaring indie pop. Before the group unleashed its 2009 debut, Weathervanes, on the world, it tuned up by busking at subway stations, making for a backstory almost as cutesy as the music. That's not to say it's bad — just that you'll need a bit of a sweet tooth and a longing for banjo, synthesizer and featherlight vocals to really enjoy it. The Whales' new album, Diluvia, picks up where Weathervanes left off, with a weird concept about ancient aliens thrown in for fun. If that sounds like a little slice of heaven, this band will help you achieve a state of perma-grinned bliss. If it sounds a little too twee to take seriously...well, who ever said indie pop was serious business?
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