Album: Mountain Whales
Released: October 2013
Amycanbe is an Italian band (whose lyrics are in English.) The group, it seems, is enjoying success; their songs have been featured in the soundtracks of two independent films, Acciaio and Savaged, and two TV shows, MTV’s Finding Carter and USA’s Royal Pains. In listening to this album, it’s easy to see why.
In Mountain Whales, Amycanbe create a mix of alternative, pop, and trip-hop, and what strikes me is the diversity of instrumentation. The album is certainly cohesive, at least partially due to singer Francesca Amati’s beautiful and breathy voice, but the songs themselves vary considerably in terms of music. Some heavily use synthesizers and beats machines (perhaps entirely, but it’s hard to say). Others are driven by piano and/or acoustic guitar. And they all work. More than work—they’re all wonderful.
I’m also impressed with the production quality. The recordings are clean and well-balanced. There’s a varying sense of space when needed. There’s no unintentional fuzz, no sibilance, just beautiful clear sound. In the letter from Feedbands, they announce that they are now working with vinyl mastering engineer Pete Lyman. Mr. Lyman cut the lacquer master for this record and will continue to cut subsequent Feedbands releases, according to the letter. A quick Google search provides a very large discography for Mr. Lyman, which may help explain the improvement in sound quality, although mastering can’t fix a bad recording, so there’s definitely some good work on Amycanbe’s end there.
The record itself is stunning. It’s a black and clear swirl that Feedbands has named “Smoke.” It’s a fitting descriptor as the vinyl really does look like it’s made of smoke (though substantially heavier, thankfully.) The monochromatic record compliments the black and white jacket (or perhaps it’s the other way around.) I like the cover art a lot, actually—ink illustrations of surreal mountains and whales, indicating the album’s title. The center label also features miniature versions of some of the mountains.
Overall, it’s a haunting album. The sound is mysterious, for lack of a better word—charming yet slightly intimidating, altogether lovely. I’m quite taken.
You can buy this album (and I suggest you do) from the Feedbands store in 180g Smoke (seen here) or black standard weight.