“I’ve been a prisoner, now I am free” announces Howlin’ Whale around the 2:12 mark of her new single/video combo “Many Lives,” her vocal echoing the catharsis of her statement excellently. “Many Lives,” whether enjoyed as a music video or simply as the latest song from Howlin’ Whale, showcases poetry from an eclectic pop singer clearly on the verge of greatness. Her execution is seamless, while her attention to detail within the lyricism here is something that will leave her rivals green with envy this May. This release is a homerun for its creator and the cult following she’s created for herself in the last half-decade.
Every instrument in this song has wonderful tonality. What’s ironic is that, overall, the master mix has a raw, unpolished finish one can assume would bleed into the fabric of the melodies here, but suffice to say, this isn’t the case at all. The balance of unfiltered mixing and shimmering instrumentation gives “Many Lives” an avant-garde overtone, though I would still say that it’s as accessible to casual pop fans as it is the diehard college radio buffs who live for left-field harmonies. In a nutshell, this is pure indie pop – impossible to categorize and as anti-commercial in spirit as they come.
The music video for “Many Lives” is dreamlike and rather psychedelic-tinged, but not so much that it feels like a product of the ongoing surrealism movement. Despite the popularity of cerebral and atmospheric compositional themes lately, Howlin’ Whale makes this release feel really original and untethered to the trends that her peers cling to so willingly. She’s clearly interested in creating her own path to the stars, and by skewing the familiar components of her sound with abstract, artsy influences – as she does here – she can never be accused of producing anything secondhand.
There’s no getting around just how jarring the beats in this song can be if you’re not expecting their uneven pop rigidity. Personally, I think that their postmodern style adds to the energy of the lyrics here a lot, and because of the crisp tone of the percussion, they create some urgency on the backend of the track that literally pushes us into main hook. Howlin’ Whale is making some strange rhythm sound like a million bucks in “Many Lives,” and that’s something I think she deserves to be lauded for on all fronts in this business.
I admittedly wasn’t following Howlin’ Whale as closely as I should have been prior to “Many Lives,” but having become hypnotized by the harmonies she creates in this song and its captivating music video, I’ll be eagerly awaiting her next release. She’s still got a lot of talent that she hasn’t properly exploited, but with a little more time and development in the studio, she’ll be able to do just about anything she sets her mind to. Howlin’ Whale has made a believer out of me, and if given the opportunity to do so this May, I think she will you as well.