White Lung is a Canadian three-piece punk-rock band from Vancouver, British Columbia. Formed in 2006 they've had past members, but currently are composed of Mish Way (vocals), Kenneth William (guitarist), and Anne-Marie Vassiliou (drummer). Being that I've never listened to their earlier work I will recuse myself from commenting on it; so my main focus will be their third and fourth studio albums.
In all honesty, I hadn't heard of them prior to their 2014 release, Deep Fantasy. It's a driven, pounding, non-stop ride that slows down for absolutely nothing. The opening track, Drown With The Monster, was all the hook I needed and I was sold.
See what I mean? It's short and to the point, it doesn't pretend to be what it isn't, and it's loud, angsty, and full of energy - I couldn't get enough of it. Even in this next track, Face Down, the energy is maintained despite the different style of vocalization performed by Way.
So here I am, listening to this album off and on for two years, and then Paradise drops in May of this year. And this is the first track I hear off the new album.
That was different. That's not what I was expecting at all. I was even a little disappointed at first as my initial gut response. After giving it another listen as if I was hearing a totally different band I became more receptive to what I was hearing, but I was still finding it difficult to understand the transition from Deep Fantasy to... this.
It does make sense though. Paradise, as a whole, has a more cohesive flow to it. The songs are more narrative and weave a story together. There is a larger variety in sound, and more melody to the tracks.
When asked why they made the changes in an interview with Paste Magazine, Mish Way responded:
"We knew that we had to make a record that still sounded like us but pushed the boundaries of what we could do. We didn’t want to be afraid of pop and melody ... The thing is, you can’t keep writing the same record over and over again."
That's an answer I can totally respect. It's not like Below is a bad song (I actually enjoy it quite a lot), but it's just different. It is comforting to hear that tracks like the next one retain the White Lung essence, yet it's different. They've worked hard to make the changes to evolve their sound, while still maintaining the soul of who they are as a band.
When a band has the balls to make this kind of change, and the talent to do it in a way that feels natural, you know that there is an immense amount of not only talent, but also passion. It's evident with White Lung.
Check out Deep Fantasy and Paradise available all over, and keep your eye out for these guys on tour.