Much like the quilted cover art on their debut album, “Weathervanes,” Freelance Whales have homey and cute intentions, but ultimately their indie pop turns out ugly, a meshing of colors that are mostly incompatible. The most effective selections on “Weathervanes” stick to simple twee pop—catchy choruses with banjos and the occasional bells and whistles. While not inspiring, those moments are preferable to the band’s bloated synth-driven tracks, jammed with a smorgasbord of artificial tricks and folksy skiffle instruments that result in far too many voices competing at once. The kitchen sink approach might succeed in capable hands, but frontman Judah Dadone’s Ben Gibbard impression and ninth-grade lyrics (“Please don’t play the match maker / Please don’t be a player hater”) prove too much to overcome. A couple of much-needed stripped-down interludes save “Weathervanes” from total overkill, and while those moments are few and far between, they at least offer a little consolation for the band’s future efforts. (Andy Seifert)
May 10 at Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln, (773)525-2501, at 8pm. $15.