12 December 2019 | Blog

December 11 – December 17

When Indie Rock favourites Smith Westerns called it quits in 2014, a lot of people, myself included, were at a loss: a criminally underrated Indie powerhouse had stopped writing music, what would fill that hole in our lives? A year passes and Julien Ehrlich and Max Kakacek of the former band welcome us to an entirely new project: Whitney.

Leaning into a more stripped back Folk and Soul styled approach opposed to the driving guitars and Indie Rock flavoured sounds of Smith Westerns, Whitney released their debut album Light Upon the Lake in 2016. Backed by glistening Keys, Horns and Strings with lyrical content addressing the failure to maintain a relationship with a loved one; Light Upon the Lake was an instant favourite among fans of Folk and Indie music.

Three years passed since the band’s inaugural release as fans waited eagerly for what was next. Refusing to disappoint, Ehrlich and Kakacek released their sophomore album: Forever Turned Around. Taking the Folk and Soul influences from their initial release and turning them up to eleven by releasing one of the most charming yet sombre Folk Rock albums you’ll hear this year or any other.

Featuring a diverse arrangement of instruments including (but not limited to): Piano, Viola, Violin, Organ and Horns; the glossy, stripped back production sounds as if it was intended to be listened to while laying in the grass during golden hour, contemplating life as the world passes you by. Both Ehrlich and Kakacek’s gorgeous falsetto vocals stand tall throughout the record; as they touch on the highs and lows of relationships, what it means to be a friend, and finding peace and joy in the little things life has to offer. Conjuring imagery of the natural world unfolding in front of your eyes: “I could spend my life out where the redwoods grow, I could pass the time watchin’ the rivers roll”, the vocals and lyricism are some of the most standout features of the band’s most recent release.

Forever Turned Around is a special album in everything it does: imploring you to both miss the people and events from your past whilst simultaneously always looking forward to the future. Whitney have achieved a rare, cerebral listening experience that not many artists are able to emulate and have created one of the best, most memorable Folk releases of the year.