Those Lavender Whales - Let's Be Friends! I'm Sorry I'm So Sleepy. (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Those Lavender Whales

Let's Be Friends! I'm Sorry I'm So Sleepy. (2007)

Fork and Spoon / Friendly Arctic

Those Lavender Whales would perhaps be more appropriately named the Lavender Whale; this is a one-man band after all, and it would be a more direct quote of the comic he got the name from. Here we find a dude named Aaron Graves who is having some fun recording everything but the kitchen sink, and I can totally relate. Acoustic guitars, banjo, accordion and various clinking and clanking percussion are piled on loose, Adam Green / Moldy Peaches style (yet never dirty) tunes on this super short EP. I wrote this intro paragraph and the thing is already half over.

Graves throws his biggest number at you first accompanied by the biggest title: "When You Think About Space and Realize How Big It Is and It Gives You That Strange Feeling." Whew. Building from acoustic guitar and no-frills vocals to add glockenspiel and drum set, accordion and electric guitar and most importantly slide whistle, the fun level is turned up to the max here. While it gets a bit sloppy with the snare drumming near the end, that's part of the charm.

"Stop Throwing Things at Me You Big Jerk!" adds what could be banjo or perhaps dobro to the mix and also introduces us to Graves's love of slide guitar. Graves goes astray a bit on "Is That Your Inner Landscape?" when the slide acoustic gets trampled by random, un-synced backing guitars. It's an intentional mess that breaks up the pop trajectory, even when the vocals suddenly appear over out-of-tune guitar after 3½ minutes to whisper a few lines. It sounds a bit Neutral Milk Hotel there at the end, but it just doesn't fit with the carefree attitude of the rest of the tracks.

"Don't EVER stop in the middle of a hoedown!" one of my heroes once said, and "I'm Sorry. Thank You." would have been awesome with a jug playing that bassline, but is a rootin' tootin' good time nonetheless. However, it could have been more carefully crafted, for as it breaks down for the coda refrain the lyrics are awkwardly crammed into the allotted space. "But I'm not made of wood, I'm made of meat" is one of the great lines from the most solid yet simplistic tune, "treetreetree." Backed only by acoustic guitar, Graves obviously spent more time getting the lyrics and melody just right and it shows.

I'm always up for bedroom pop and random instrumentation and I love the fun attitude Those Lavender Whales exude. Let's Be Friends! shows promise, but when over four minutes of a 13-minute EP are blown on a stinker track that doesn't fit the flow, it's a matter of editing. A ‘try everything' attitude is fine, but Graves needs to be aware of cohesion if he's going to attempt a full-length. But for all my pickiness, I really had fun listening to this and will watch out for Those Lavender Whales in the future.