If we could dig up the bones of Ancient Whales from the deep, what wisdom would they offer us? Most likely, and perhaps more dramatically considering the time passed and their formidable size, the same as their musical counterparts, the hard driving, ferociously intense, Asheville, NC based veteran power rock trio of Enoch Bledsoe (vocals, guitar), Natalie Bledsoe (vocals, bass guitar) and Bryan Poole.
Which brings us to their latest provocatively titled album Vestiges of Tails Appear in All of Us. Their deliciously raw, rambunctious and blistering garage-y jamming – which has been described by adjective reaching critics over the years as everything from acid rock, punk rock and alt-rock to riff rock and “flower punk” – gets in your ears like a blaring but ultimately tuneful and melodic/harmonic car horn, keeping your brain alert as they rumble through words of brilliant pithy pearls of wisdom that, like the sea creatures of old, rings timeless and eternal.
Though seemingly by design, Enoch’s lead vocals get lost in the murky majesty of the guitar rumbling, you should make the effort to strain harder to hear the insightful lyrics. Once you crack the sonic code, you’ll realize that each of these 13 tracks (which collectively run less than 27 minutes) is a two- minute exploration of different aspects of the human condition. In a the blissful, high energy 2:02 opener “Stick and Poke,” for instance, the trio exclaims “Everybody’s free to be/What they wanna be,” taking a stand for accepting people despite their difference of opinions. Just so we don’t take them too seriously – this is rebellious rock, after all – they add that the song also refers to their love of old, shitty tattoos.
Other equally hard to lyrically decipher on first listen tracks include a bold, crunching expression of our common humanity (“Everything”), a blasting reminder of human interpersonal communication problems (“For All”) and a few different reflections on the way we perceive passing time (most positively, the evergreen magic of music on the anthem “Oh Yeah”).
Since they released it as a lead single, the harmonically soaring, hard-chugging “Giving” bears mentioning not simply as an exhortation to always “give a little little more,” but a harrowing personal account of the Bledsoes’ cat Nanna being lost outside for nine days.
Ancient Whales play it hard, fast and tough throughout this speedy, wild sonic rollercoaster of a collection, but its lovely to imagine that special heartfelt moment when on the 10th day since the kitty’s disappearance, a neighbor found her shivering under his porch and the trio welcomed her home with this emotional song.