Vulture Whale – s/t

From Birmingham, Alabama comes Vulture Whale, a quartet of experienced musicians who mix contemporary punk rock with more classic, southern roots. The easy-going guitars and intelligent, personal lyrics on this self-titled debut make Vulture Whale an exciting band to watch out for.

The album starts slowly with “Baby In The Oven”, but the pace soon quickens with “Who Knows It” and “Shoulda Been Rockin’”, which are both outstanding tracks. Singer Wes McDonald sounds like a mix of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s Alec Ounsworth and Coldplay’s Chris Martin, and it works perfectly. Drummer Jake Waitzman is spectacular, managing to stand out on the mostly guitar-driven tracks. One of the best songs of this album is “Take It Easier”, but “Rainbow Lies” is also great, with its markedly southern sound and some of the best guitar work. The slow closing tune, “Rita”, is reminiscent of very early Wilco. The only missteps are the obvious similarities in “Older Younger” and “Born Again”. They both sound good, but a band with this much potential shouldn’t be afraid of some variation. Minor mistakes aside, this straight-forward, engaging album shows that Vulture Whale could be a band that has a long career ahead.

These musicians not only sound practiced and professional, but also like they’re having a great time playing music. Vulture Whale gets it right with this self-titled debut, and their future releases will undoubtedly be just as exciting.