Arson Whales and the quest for Rosebud
Straight from California comes one of the most out-of-the-way Californian bands you’ll get to know this year. And that’s great! I’m referring to the Arson Whales quartet, whose name is a pun on Orson Welles, the great star of “Citizen Kane”, the movie that immortalized the word “Rosebud” in the minds of lovers of this piece of art. “Someone randomly suggested that if Orson Welles had a child, it would be fun to name them Arson… Which was totally out of left field but the minute those two words were placed together We all exclaimed “that’s it!”” explains Linda Brancato, the mighty Whales’ front woman.
Arson Whales transits very well through genres such as glam, synth-pop, electronic-rock, psychedelic and indie-pop and has recently released their awesome debut album “Galactopus”, after 2 singles released in the context of the pandemic, in 2021. With this mosaic of genres that merge to build some sort of “intergalactic” scenario, besides creative lyrics with loads of irony and wisdom, the album is a beautiful surprise.
About the inspiration to write lyrics as out of common sense as the joyful “Zephyr & Sycophant” , Linda attributes it to a place she doesn’t know how to name. Who knows….their lost “Rosebud” could easily come from Galactopus.
I think of lyrics as downloads, they just come… through (from wherever this stuff comes)
Linda Brancato – Arson Whales
2 6 Things about Arson Whales by Linda Brancato
RC – Hello, Arson Whales. How is it going? Where are you now, let’s say, earth?
AW – Hi there! Things are going good for us Whales here on the northern hemisphere of earth. Just over here gearing up to do some more recording and excited for some upcoming shows.
RC – The first thing that captured my attention was the name “Arson Whales” which I think is brilliant. What was the main inspiration for that?
AW – Glad you dig our band name! We knew for a while that we were Whales but the Arson part came about when someone randomly suggested that if Orson Welles (the late great eccentric movie star of the 40s and 50s) had a child, it would be fun to name them Arson… Which was totally out of left field but the minute those two words were placed together We all exclaimed “that’s it!” And it felt like we had all the magic pieces now to move forward. It’s a pretty cool experience, when all the stars align even for just a brief moment of our existence.
RC – Tell us more how was the production process of your debut album.
AW – The album was produced by Ryan Sanders at Discovery Way Studio which was also one of those moments where he just popped into our lives right at the perfect time. It’s kind of a theme for us and we have learned to trust the universe as well as working hard. We did the whole thing remotely and still haven’t met in person other than over Zoom. He was just the perfect fit. He totally gets our cosmic vibe and he just went off creating what we think is a beautifully seamless album.
RC – Who’s Zephyr & Sycophant?
AW – I think of lyrics as downloads, they just come… through (from wherever this stuff comes) I never really set out to write about specific things, it often just gets revealed in the process. Which is always interesting and surprising. And what I love most about it. When I realized and acknowledged that hidden sycophantic side of myself I was like…yikes! But then I saw the absurdity and allowed myself to acknowledge it move on and hopefully grow up a bit. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who has ever given a compliment or befriended someone just for their own benefit. I believe you can’t change something that you don’t know is there.
RC – Your sound has that 90’s vibe. What are the band’s main influences on that matter?
AW – Yeah the 90’s produced a lot of great music and I think maybe we just soak in and digest what resonates throughout our lives, and it just comes through as a mish mash of all that.
RC – When will we see the Whales on Brazilian shores?
AW – We would absolutely love to end up on the Brazilian shores. It is definitely on the vision board for the near future. Thank you so much for putting us on your radar!
“Galactopus” Track by Track
Monkey Jar: The frantic and anxious pace of the album’s opening track sets the tone for “Galactopus”, while also making room for experimental instrumental trips in the style of The Doors.
Upside Down: With an intro that could very well be on a spy movie soundtrack, the second track features a striking chorus, repeated to exhaustion and that gives meaning to the set.
Gray Dorian: The title’s infamous pun draws attention to what I believe to be a potential lead song on the album, with a very New Order vibe.
Reverse the Rule: Track that stands out for the incredible influence of David Bowie in several phases.
Zephyr & Sycophant: Great fun. Another potential hit, with magnificent lyrics by Brancato (see above).
Spirit In A Wormhole: Arson Whales demonstrates how to dose fun and psychedelia without tiring the listener.
Finding Betsy Dar: My favorite track. With a rousing bassline that harks back to current indie-pop names like Hazel English.
This Chimera: “Don’t forget to breathe in“. Perhaps the best advice on the entire album. Don’t forget to breathe and enjoy all the great nuances that life offers.
Sonic Eclipse: Another track with such a strong David Bowie influence.
Whales Fall: The suggestive “Whales Fall” has a Pixies feel and serves to end the disc in a more relaxed vibe.
Blackhole: With a totally unique swing, Blackhole works as a preview of what is yet to come in the band’s next projects, I guess. Next chapter?