This may be a little late to the game, but having knowledge of this band could be important.
Whitney is a Chicago-based duo comprised of two former members of Smith Westerns: Max Kakacek and Julian Ehrlich. Ehrlich was also the drummer for Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
Their one and only album, Light Upon the Lake, was released in early June with a few singles coming out before then.
Describing their sound poses a bit of a challenge, which is possibly their appeal. Considerably unique for an indie band, Ehrlich’s vocals are really high and soft, almost sounding feminine but it manages to blend well with their style.
The band uses a fair amount of horns to accompany their both electric and acoustic guitars, and the occasional piano chords. Their sound is relatively light and does not take the heavy rock element many bands tend to have. The record is easy listening.
Ehrlich’s high voice really accompanies this soft vibe that gives the record a very acoustic feel. A good portion of the record’s songs revolve around a soft or twangy guitar riff, that is then combined with easy drums.
The few songs that have horns give the record a touch of jazz as well, only giving them more of a unique sound. Their feel bounces back from jazz to soft country, all while maintaining the status of a true indie rock band. It’s hard to not nod your head to every song as the easy beat plays along.
“No Woman”: This track was released before the album but still holds as one of the more significant songs on the record. With piano, horns, then an acoustic chord that plays throughout, this is the first song on the album, and the first introduction to Ehrlich’s unique voice. It’s a soft song with a simple chorus that is more focused on a smooth guitar riff and strings than words. After every chorus, the song fades to silence then picks up again, and it just works. The simple rhythm of the chords that’s then accompanied by the strings then that electric guitar give this song a real smooth feeling.
“Golden Days”: My personal favorite song on the record, it’s easily the loudest and most hardcore song on the album. Still keeping with the same vibe and high-pitched voice, it is hardcore compared to the rest of the record. With more electric guitar, the drumbeat is louder and more of a component of this track. Probably the most indie rock sounding song on the record, this track has a really positive vibe with riffs of guitar and horns that play along with it. Again this combination really works well together and every time I hear it I find myself either tapping along or nodding my head. There’s even a horn solo followed by some “Na Na Na’s” to end the track.
“On My Own”: Starting off with that twangy electric guitar riff, the high vocals and a smooth bass line are the backbone of this song. Representative of the band’s style, this track holds true to what to the album has to offer. The use of horns and a simple, catchy beat make up the rest of the song. This track is easy, catchy and not too serious.
“Light Upon the Lake”: The vocals play the major role in this song. Harmonized over his own vocals, Ehrlich’s voice powers this record through. A really soft song with no beat, the vocals are joined together with electric and acoustic guitar riffs that make this song one of the more simpler ones on the album. There are also harmonies with strings laid under them to give this song a bit of a different feel at times. It is smooth, calm, relaxing and another easy listen.
Featured Photo Credit: Featured photo courtesy of Whitney’s Facebook page.
Vidal Serfaty is a junior broadcast journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.