Album Review: The Lighthouse & The Whaler

“This is An Adventure could be the album that puts them on the path to even greater things…”

The Lighthouse & The Whaler  |  This Is An Adventure

With their 2007 self-titled debut album, indie-pop group The Lighthouse and the Whaler had established themselves as a solid band.  Now, after spending much of the past year in the studio working with producer Ryan Hadlock (The Lumineers, Metric), the group has made a huge leap forward in quality.  Follow-up This is An Adventure could be the album that will put them on the path to even greater things.

It’s clear from this new album that The Lighthouse and the Whaler have progressed as a band.  The exquisite vocals of lead singer Michael LoPresti are still there, as are the unique backing instrumentals of bandmates Matthew LoPresti, Mark Poro, and Steve Diaz.  What’s gone is the folk heavy sound of their previous work, replaced by a sound more pop than folk.  The combination of light and airy vocals with a plethora of instruments (guitar, piano, violin, mandolin, glockenspiel, the list goes on…) makes the group stand out.

The band make a statement right out of the gates with ‘Pioneers’, a song that really showcases their evolution as a band.  Upbeat and light, with excellent vocals and lyrics that actually mean something, this song is a keeper.  Follow-up ‘Chromatic’ contains even more of a pop sound, but The Lighthouse and the Whaler doesn’t forget their roots.  Sprinkled into the track are elements of their former folk sound in the form of the glockenspiel and violin.  Surprisingly, these accompaniments don’t feel like an add-on at all, they truly add a lot to the emotion of the song.

In fact, the whole album is full of emotion, especially first single ‘Venice’.  The listener gets absorbed into the lyrics, feeling the passion of a lost first love.  One can’t help but be moved by lines like “Death is cold/Death is sure/Why don’t we all fall in love?” Later in the album, ‘Iron Doors’ contains similar themes, with deep lyrics and a chorus that can only be described as epic.  This type of songwriting is one of the things that can make a band great, and to have two songs with that level of performance can only point to more good things to come.

This record doesn’t have a bad song, or even many inferior sections of songs.  If the album has a fault, it’s the lack of a true “radio song”.  While full of many good and very good tracks, there doesn’t seem to be one song that will really take off on the airwaves.  There’s nothing to do for them what ‘Little Talks’ did for Of Monsters and Men. While not a true liability, it may be the only thing holding this group back right now after such progression in their sound.  If the group can make a similar leap forward between albums two and three, they will assuredly be able to reach true indie stardom.