Whale is a Swedish trio led by singer Cia Berg. They debuted with the
single Pay For Me. The album
We Care (Virgin, 1995) made waves mainly because of the
frankly sexual lyrics (I'll Do Ya,
Young Dumb And Full Of Cum, the lesbian fantasy Eurodog),
but the music was no less frank and original, an artistic blend of
sensual crooning, hip-hop beats, heavy-metal guitars, sing-along folk tunes and
rock and roll tempos drenched in gloomy atmospheres.
Hobo Humpin' Slobo Babe became a club hit.
The more varied
All Disco Dance Must End In Broken Bones (Virgin, 1998), recorded
by a quintet, does not dwell on trip hop.
Crying At Airports is the sole specimen, albeit a highly sophisticated
one: languid, jazzy keyboard reverbs, intricate rhythm, loud dub bass,
electronic noises and a multitude of secondary threads, while Berg's
childish whisper mutates into a bullish rap.
What the songs have in common is not style, but technique: their (often
trivial) melody is enhanced by a daring sequence of metamorphoses.
In a few seconds of Deliver The Juice one witnesses wild
scratching, electronic dissonances, flute, orchestra, heavy-metal guitar...
while Berg sings her nursery rhyme.
The band runs the gamut from the
gentle lullaby Roadkill (that echoes U2's With Or Without You and
Velvet Underground's I'll Be Your Mirror over a hypnotic piano and drums
beat and spy-thriller twang)
to the frantic hip-hop and sharp funk of Four Big Speakers .
But the excessive weight of soporiphic ballads sinks the album before it
can reach the Velvet Underground-ian peak of 2 Cord Song
(with a "oh-la-la" chorus that recalls Kevin Ayers' surreal fantasies).
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