Or, the Whale: Light Poles and Pines

[10 June 2009]

By Ron Hart

If the Carter Family existed in the 21st century and rolled deep like Broken Social Scene or even the Wu-Tang Clan for that matter, you would have the rustic, multi-hued Opry rock of California’s Or, the Whale. The San Francisco-based group’s debut album, Light Poles and Pines, is a beautiful slice of traditionalist country rock that is more Smoky Mountains than Big Sur in spite of the group’s city of origin, with just a hint of indie snark to appeal to the Pitchfork crowd. Fans of Clem Snide will eat up the romantic whine of frontman Alex Robins on tracks like “St. Bernard” and the chanty-esque “Life and Death at Sea”. No Depression fans, take note.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/94423-or-the-whale-light-poles-and-pines/