[ORCHESTRAL POP] Well, Portland, hopefully you didn't expect Typhoon to stay yours forever. A band built like a junior orchestra clearly has ambitions no basement could contain for long. With its third album, the group signals it has left the house shows behind for good, setting out for pastures perhaps not greener but definitely wide enough to accommodate its expanding sense of grandeur. The title is ironic: Nothing about White Lighter is pocket-sized. Laid down last summer at Pendarvis Farm then pored over for the next year, these songs contain multitudes. Only a few exceed five minutes, but each goes through a symphony's worth of movements, with peaks and valleys carved from booming cannonades of guitars and drums and strings and horns and choirs and keyboards and other sedimentary layers of sound, the exact number known only to producer Paul Laxer's computer. Typhoon has always been a big band. Now the music nearly dwarfs them. But for frontman Kyle Morton, this is an album every bit as personal as those that came before, if not more so. Much of it is framed around a life-threatening illness he suffered in childhood. Amid the bombast, he still sings like his vocals were recorded in a confessional booth, and there are moments where he registers as a speck against the massive sonic landscape. In any epic drama, though, an emotional anchor is crucial, and Morton is White Lighter's—the voice whispering in your ear, keeping you from being overwhelmed by the sheer scope of it all.
HEAR IT: White Lighter is out Tuesday, August 20.