Like lances of morning light gazing through white wooden cracks of a sun stained window ledge, Chicago’s Whitney make music to feel the essential kind of sad to. Meditatively wholesome complete with a hanging basket display of rhododendron balminess, the group's sophomore album Forever Turned Around is a three year wait worth waiting for.
With a profound awareness of what simplicities the universe can bring when all the little pieces of a larger puzzle fit together perfectly, if the duo’s debut Light Upon The Lake was the creation sparked introduction to their rosy universe, then this time round things have doubled in phosphorescence. Complete with a full-fledged band, opening track ‘Giving Up’ has that blissed out, floating world restlessness that is only topped in levels of glee by that ‘ever so Whitney’ surprise trumpet (Will Miller).
Ever the charismatic frontman, drummer and vocalist Julien Ehrlich’s has an utterly absorbing tone that lends to him sounding a bit like a wistful narrator of an indie children’s television show set in warm woodland, which, alongside Max Kakacek, exemplifies how the pair have developed an unwavering flow of creative confidence that both acknowledges and transcends expectations of what a second album should sound like.
Accepted lonesomeness and cross-roaded relationships are themes that ring true to the emotively raw and firmly human element of Forever Turned Around and the band as a whole. ‘Used To Be Lonely’ is so serenely warm that if heartstrings were to make a sound it would be exactly this. Dappled and slow crooning, it’s a melancholic marvel that subtly freckles guitar splendour with sliding wooze and is prime tear-inducing. Lingering fine might like the smell of rain falling uninterrupted on a shaded canopy of gathered sound, other numbers including ‘Before I Know It’ and ‘My Life Alone’ channel a looming last breath of summer with faded golden hour breeze, whilst ‘Songs For Ty’ swims in shoals of silver strings.
Tingly and lyrically existential, it wouldn’t be a Whitney album without an instrumental number. ‘Rhododendron’ is arguably a well-earned gift to themselves that showcases the tight-knit talent and effortless vibe that surges from the group as an entity. With Malcolm Brown (keys), Print Choteau (guitar) and Josiah Marshall (bass) all adding confirmation to Whitney’s specialty and hopeful longevity, Forever Turned Around is going to be an easy contender for album of the year.
Forever Turned Around is released on 30 August 2019 via Secretly Canadian.