Whale Oil
Gig Seeker Pro

Whale Oil

Portland, Maine, United States

Portland, Maine, United States
Band Alternative Punk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Album Review: Whale Oil"

Whale Oil is a young power trio delivering just what Portland needs right now: simple, straight-ahead, ass-kickin’ rock ’n’ roll. Imagine the first Rush album if they let John Rutsey sing and you’re more than halfway to appreciating this promising debut.

Drummer Brian Saxton handles lead vocals on most songs, with guitarist Bill Scanlan taking the mic on a couple others. Neither’s much of a singer, but that’s beside the point. Bassist McCrae Hathaway rounds things out nicely by shutting up and laying down grooves.

After what I believe to be an actual voicemail from a woman threatening Saxton with legal action over group Whale Oil text messages she mistakenly believes are personal insults, the album slams into gear with “Too Much.” “Don’t judge me how I am / I’m the drummer of a rock ’n’ roll band,” Saxton yells with palpable exuberance. “Remember me as I was / I’m gonna fuck it up just because.” He and the boys then proceed to do just that, gloriously.

The punk numbers, like “Too Much” and “Lights Out,” are more fun than furious, and the bar-rock material (“Musketeers,” “Towards The End”) is suitably simple. The sludgy “Senses” earns most of the seven minutes of your attention it asks for, but “Working Man” it ain’t. If anything, Scanlan’s solos could stand to be even more indulgent than they already are. Take it over the top, dude!

A rousing acoustic sing-along (“Released”) and some power-chord blues rock (“New Epic”) bring the album to a satisfying conclusion. Low expectations and high volume combine to make Whale Oil a winner. - Chris Busby

"If it's punkish blues-rock you crave, here's a Whale of a fix"

If you are feeling a little deprived and parched of some good old punk blues-rock, the Portland-based trio Whale Oil can fill the prescription for your ill. Besieging us with their crunchy, wailing and forceful garage band music, the band's self-titled eight-song debut hits you in just the right spot.

After about the second listen through, I realized that the first three-quarters of the CD was filled with much staccato-infused punk guitar riffs and impressive high-tempo drumming.

But then the album takes a turn in "Hadlock Field," which highlights the band's blues-rock influence reminiscent of Led Zeppelin with some tasty melodic guitar by Bill Scanlin, who also shares the spotlight with drummer Brian Saxton for lead vocals on some songs.

The one exception to the punk/blues formula is the fourth song, "Senses," which was built on a slower three-quarter time signature and provides a nice little break in energy. The band patiently puts together a great groove, and uses some very interesting guitar voicings. One downfall is Saxton's voice, which is on the edge at times and pushes the limits of what is acceptable.

"Towards the End" opens up with a sweet groove featuring bassist McCrae Hathaway, who shows off his prowess and creativity. You might think Saxton and Scanlin would try to keep up energy-wise with Hathaway's dynamic bass lines, but the song surprisingly sets back right in the easy/fun groove pocket and pretty much stays there, with the exception of that groovy bass line resurfacing a few times.

"Lights Out" reminds me of the roots of every rock musician at some point -- the garage -- with its nasty bass lines and irreverently noisy six-string work. When the solo hits, it's almost as if to say, "this is where the solo goes, and I couldn't care less what you want."

"Released" has a bit of a country feel. Unless you were paying attention to the irreverent tone of the CD up to this point, it's a tune that might seem incongruent with the rest. "Oh, I need a remedy from the same old song that I sing" -- well played.

These guys bring the rock on for sure -- gruff vocals; thin, shimmery guitars; a punchy, in the pocket bass; and powerful work on the skins. Rock 'n' roll basics.

Based on a four-star scale - KRISTIN DiCARA-McCLELLAN


Still working on that hot first release.



Hailing from Portland, Maine, Whale Oil is a trio that bridges the gap between many different genres to create what they call "Barn Rock", It all becomes clear when Bill Scanlan's intricate guitar work combines with McCrae Hathaway's deep low end and Brian Saxton's powerhouse drumming and vocals.

Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, Whale Oil's debut album will be released June 2013. Recorded in Canton, CT at 86F Studios and mastered at The Studio is Portland, ME, the album incorporates heavy grinding riffs (Lights Out), harmony-driven folk (Released) and self-proclaimed "Barn Rock" (Towards the End).
The album will be released on limited edition vinyl and digitally.