The new Said The Whale single ‘Heaven has been playing over five times before another writer’s head enquired ‘isn’t there more to listen to?’ which is pretty good going on a busy day at WithGuitars. The single precedes the full length. ‘As Long As Your Eyes Are Wide’, out on March 31 via Hidden Pony Records.
Previously operating as a five-piece, the current trio – made up of frontmen Tyler Bancroft and Ben Worcester and keyboardist Jaycelyn Brown – entered the studio with no preconceptions and no concrete plan. With the help of We Are The City’s Cayne McKenzie on production duties, the finished product is Said The Whale’s most collaborative.
Ben Worcester’s thoughts on the song, “Heaven’ is a song about nostalgia. I was inspired by my dear friend and next door neighbour Ron Strand who I’ve known since I was born. Him and I had a shared love for visiting and keeping tabs on familiar places in the city and watching as things changed and developed over time. In 2016, Ron was struck by a bicycle and fell into a coma. He passed away a few days later. Before he died I had a dream about him waking up from his coma, which helped inspire some of the lyrics in the second half of the song. Recording “Heaven” was possibly the most collaborative effort I’ve experienced in my career, literally building a song from scratch, from a few words and ideas, from a visceral feeling. It was exciting to have such momentum – we sat in a cluttered room and pulled on threads revealing something, a song none of us intended or expected.”
The end of this process has delivered creative fruit, such is the narrative and music, matched with a subdued warm opening which suggest the refrain was Ron Strand’s recollection of that dream. The song builds and fills out with delicate guitar patterns, and near perfect keyboard, which accompany, accent and underpin, and do not override the song. To use a slightly older vernacular, there is a stronger flavour of dreamscape, admittedly with indie trappings. Said The Whale have landed well. ‘Heaven’ works on multiple levels. 7.8/10