US - Illinois - Full Moon 244 - 07/20/16
Light Upon the Lake
'Classic and modern at the same time, they revel in concrete details, evocative turns of phrase, and thorny emotions that don't have exact names.'
Light Upon the Lake is Chicago duo Whitney's debut album. Whitney are guitarist Max Kakacek (ex-Smith Westerns) and singing drummer Julien Ehrlich (formerly of Unknown
Mortal Orchestra as well as the Smith Westerns), who went to California to record these ten songs with their long-time friend Jonathan Rado - known as Foxygen's
frontman). Ehrlich and Kakacek tented in Rado's backyard, and they 'ate the same breakfast every morning at the same diner in the remote, desolate
and completely un-rock'n'roll San Fernando Valley' (Stephen M. Duesner, Pitchfork). Whitney holds the laidback folk vibe of The Band and Neil Young (the 60s/70s 'crooning' Young), but
they also follow the track of 'temporary' bands such as Band of Horses, Midlake and Woods. The loose and relaxed
recording sessions turned the song-writing twosome fronting their personalised band, which eventually expanded into a dynamic sextet (or septet). Whitney refine their songs of 'isolation and
loneliness', seeking the 'perfect imperfections'. As the promo sheet states: 'in those imperfections lies the music's humanity'. When they recorded their songs they had plenty room for
'improvisation and new ideas', making the ten tracks vibrant with personality and attitude without losing (or lacking) the important loose and pleasant, organic and soul filled vibe throughout
the album's half hour of music. Presenting songs that 'sound like they could have been written at any time in the last fifty years.' Like Duesner
has said, 'Whitney make casually melancholic music that combines the wounded drawl of Townes Van Zandt, the rambunctious energy of Jim Ford, the stoned
affability of Bobby Charles, the American otherworldliness of The Band, and the slack groove of early Pavement.'
Whitney formed just a few months after Smith Westerns disbanded. Over the next year, the band wrote and recorded their first album. Light Upon the Lake is a light record, even
though it holds a number of sad-eyed, melancholic break-up songs. The sadness is trumped with hope and lightness, as all the songs aim for your ears for then to go straight to your heart.
Among the best songs, we find the fabulous "No Matter Where We Go", as well as the opening "No Woman", "The Falls", and the closing "Follow". The album oozes and shines with its high pitch
vocals, neat guitar playing, fitting horns and with and an all-over good mood despite the heartaches and the somewhat gloomy expression. It's summer, babe. Whitney makes the sun shine from
all possible angles, even if the rain drizzles - or pours. Peace and joy.
Copyright © 2016 H. Oppøyen