Whitney 'Light upon the Lake' review

Henry Lewis sheds light on the Chicago band's sparkling debut release.

Henry Lewis

Last updated: 16th Jun 2016.
Originally published: 3rd Jun 2016

Spawned from the breakup of Max Kakacek's band former Smith Westerns in late 2014 come Chicago outfit Whitney who, in just over a year, have delivered their stunning debut album Light Upon The Lake. Released through the Secretly Canadian label, the dawning of this record had offered up three beautiful singles but now fully illuminated its true majesty is clear to see.

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Primarily it's an acoustic, singer songwriter affair but the subtlety of the additional instrumentation is what truly makes the album shine. In opening track 'No Woman' subtle brass sections are married beautifully with shimmering fretwork and this is continued throughout.

Whilst being more than competent behind the kit, singing drummer Julien Ehrlich is most notable in his delivery of the gentle falsetto, that adds to the distinctiveness of this record. The title track is definitively folky in its finger picking but is free of any sort of cliche, and the inclusion of a string section makes its outro somewhat wistful. 

This only serves to compliment the following track, 'No Matter Where We Go', arguably the finest on the record. Lyrically, its chorus is by far the most evocative: "I can take you out, I wanna drive around, with you with the windows down" and begs to be overplayed on your car stereo. 

In such a short time, Whitney have created not just a well crafted album but a thoughtful one at that, and its release could not have been more timely. With its sunshine sentiments and glistening harmonies, Light Upon The Lake is the quintessential summer record your collection absolutely needs.

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