American artist Caleb Hayashida is back on the 22nd of April, 2022 with his concept album “Moby Dick or The Whale”. All based on Herman Melville’s classic novel, Hayashida succeeds in putting all genres aside and emerges into a journey of sound experimentation and expression creating a sound that will soak you in.
Caleb Hayashida kick-starts the record with “Sea Fever”, a folky tune with playful melodies that puts you right into the moment of being on a boat with the wind blowing into your face. The swaying melodies and piano/acoustic guitar mix with his breezy vocals were like a welcoming gesture. Hayashida’s vocals get a little sharper on “Interpretation” while the music takes a more complex progressive turn. The guitar tone is perfect throughout the whole song and the way guitar melodies and licks were layered with other instruments as they all progress and flow smoothly with the song’s dynamics is pretty remarkable, and the drumming is insanely good with super interesting jazzy touches. As “Drifting” starts we start to realize that Caleb Hayashida is taking us on a special sonic journey rather than just another rock album. The sounds and effects he uses in the intro and then throughout the song gave me the feeling of floating and it was impressive how he managed to handle those effects alongside, percussions and vocal harmonies as he maintains its mood and catchiness. We get introduced with lots of intensity to Captain Ahab on “Enter Ahab” before we move into a heavier and bigger sound on “Monomaniac”. “Monomaniac” starts a slow heavy start and it keeps on getting heavier while keeping with the pace of the album. The vocals and guitar take another turn with distorted guitars, subtle guitar licks here and there, and expressive intense vocals with the right effects at the right time all coated with an electronic touch that adjusts its mood. With a cinematic dreamy intro that’ll make you see and smell the scene comes “The Whiteness of the Whale”. It sways from dreamy atmospheric guitars to ambient electronic parts with a balanced harmony delivering a unique sound experience right in the middle of the record, definitely one of my favorites. We get back to that folky playful sound with “Sweethearts” but maybe with a slightly heavier approach at the chorus. The sound gets more upbeat on “Build Me a Coffin”, I liked its effect on the record’s dynamics and its easy catchy modern sound showing another side of Caleb Hayashida’s music. Alli O’Donnell’s vocals on “Homesick” was really on point, she and Hayashida created some beautiful emotional harmonies backed with heartfelt piano melodies. Hayashida gets back to his porgy/psychedelic sound on “The Chase” and to be honest, those ones are my favorites. He does a great job putting all those pieces together to create these soundscapes that puts you right into the situation. The way he manipulates effects and narrations with guitars, piano bass, and drums shows a lot of vision and a high sense of storytelling. The heavy guitars in the 2nd half and the vocal harmonies and orchestrations by the end were a very pleasant surprise for me and I loved how he steered this crescendo towards the outro. “Whaleman’s Hymn” is a perfect ending for this trip, with a mellow ballad putting this journey to a sweet end.
“Moby Dick or The Whale” is a unique journey of sounds and emotions by Caleb Hayashida, that’ll make you forget everything about the outer world while you are listening to it. Its smooth flow and dynamics will take you smoothly from one song to another and keep you focused throughout its 54 minutes. Totally recommended for all progressive, psychedelic and experimental fans and everyone who appreciates good music out there, cheers!