White Whale 

WWI (Merge Records)

Fronted by Matt Suggs, Butterglory was among the most underrated of all the straightforward indie rock bands of the mid-90s. After a somewhat disappointing stint as a solo artist, Suggs has now teamed up with former Get Up Kids bassist Rob Pope, of all people, to form White Whale, whose first full-length is occasionally reminiscent of his stellar past, but overall just sort of dopey, held back by an ongoing infatuation with one particular mood that’s rarely hit dead on. It’s essentially guitar rock that’s supposed to be a little bit creepy and feel quirky and massive in scope, but I really just kept thinking, “Wow, this is kind of a tasteless mess.” In the band’s horribly overwritten bio, they reference Okkervil River, the Arcade Fire and the Decemberists with what I thought was just a bad joke. Turns out aspects of all three of those bands can be heard in White Whale, but in this case, the sum is definitely not greater than all of its parts.

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