Music collective Blue Whale has gained quite a name for themselves on the local and national scene. The experimental five-piece from Belfast is known for pushing the boundaries with their music, bringing questions such as “what is a song?” and “what instrument is that?” to the mouths of fans. A promising and fresh group that unfortunately seems to have suffered from an acute case of ‘can we’ instead of ‘should we.’ Their absolute dedication to structured chaos in their composition is worthy of applause but their latest release ‘Shortbread Fingers’ is a haphazard construction that leaves me with only one question: “Why?”
It is essential to note that Shortbread is not necessarily a bad song. However experimental music is, by its very nature, hit or miss. The positive notes are solid, with modern, technical riffs adding to a palpable sense of unease, and the songcraft that has made Blue Whale so popular still present. It was this sense of unease though that I found impossible to ignore, as it is the predominant theme throughout as opposed to a complementary piece. This was too much for me without lyrics to justify itself. Excessive to the point where it became difficult for me to concentrate, Shortbread is an unfortunate case of “Too much, too young, too fast”
It must again be reiterated that this is not a bad song, merely poorly executed. Gratifying, imaginative and riffy when at its best, there is enough for the discerning ear to enjoy if the time is taken to peel back layers, but this writer is unable to think this is not a step back for this promising group.