Do you know those shots in movies where they try to show the passing of time by pointing a camera at the sky and fast forward the images? Clouds fly by, the sun comes up and down, dramatic music is played? That's the picture that comes to my mind when I think of The Whiles. This is a band I've been able to see (in a short time) grow from a college rock band to something much, much more.
When I started to go their shows on a somewhat regular basis in the summer of 2003, they were known to the city as Mrs. Children. They'd play these weekly gigs at Andyman's Treehouse that would continue to pack the place, week after week, and this was on a Wednesday night! Everyone at those shows knew that something special was going on, and we'd eagerly wait the next Wednesday performance to see what new covers or songs the band would prepare. It became a sort of competition between me and my friends: "How many Mrs. Children shows did you go to?"
All through this time, the band was honing their sound. While their early days were filled with "jangly, smart rock" (a description Rolling Stone gave them), it was obvious at these shows that the band was moving away from that. Their music was becoming more spiritual and direct from their hearts.
By the time December rolled around, the band rechristened themselves as The Whiles, and they went into a self imposed exile for several months until their first full length album was complete. "Colors of the Year" was finally released in early May, and it was definitely worth the wait.
Delicately honest, these songs could break in half if not handled with care. The album is filled with lush orchestrations and whispered lyrics, making it feel very personal to the listener. I've heard people compare the music to Nick Drake, Pernice Brothers, The Bryds and Wilco, and I'll go along with that.