I really wish that I hadn’t given the “Pohoda” festival a miss this year, but work and family obligations, as well as a bout of covid kept the Florkster at home this summer. Too bad, because otherwise I would have had the chance to check out 52 Hertz Whale. This is a post-punk/rock band whose sound is a bit tough to describe or categorise, but undoubtedly cool and fun to listen to. The music and lyrics are so riveting and intriguing that it’s hard to focus on anything else that might be going on around you. It’s like each track is full of raw energy that’s been polished carefully through mixing and production, while still leaving plenty of rough edges. I got goosebumps from listening to this album. Present Sense Impression is a collection of up and downbeat tracks, meaning there is a depressing side to the lyrics in their songs, for example, Aberration: “I close my eyes, sunrise, sunrise, rescue me…on a better day…for the sake of a better day... humiliation!! Will we rise against it?” A totally captivating song as you can totally feel the singer’s despair. Or take the opener Dmytro, remembering an event in the past “No tomorrow! My God! And our bodies are on fire!” The drums and bass are laid on thick with Phil, where the tempo is faster and heavier, yet it’s all a steady beat with a build-up to the darker limits of the latter half of the track with the punk side emerging loud and clear. And it just gets better with creative lyrics that leave you in a trance, like in Argentina: “Why avoid those misery lands when they’ll always be there? That’s why we’re going to Argentina to see penguins in a Spanish-speaking country…. Suddenly I’m all alone here and I would be over the moon if I could be there!” Absolutely brilliant! How do you write stuff like that? Love it!
I can see why 52 Hertz Whale is a popular band on stage and play major festivals around Europe and not just in Slovakia. All the tracks on Present Sense Impression are melodic and energy-driven and magnified 1000 times by the vocalists inspiring lyrics and ability to sing them in an original and captivating manner. They’ll be playing at Grape Festival next year, but hopefully I’ll get a chance to see them live before then.
And my overall thoughts? Absolutely amazing band and album! Ten out of ten for sure, these guys have that chemistry that can’t be found in other bands these days, and the chemical reaction that results is pure bliss to listen to. This is why I love Slovakia and the music that is produced here. So much originality that I don’t need to travel far or even abroad to experience something that leaves a lasting impression. And 52 Hertz Whale encompasses all that.