Whitelands – Night-bound Eyes Are Blind To The Day

Whitelands' second debut album is hazy and intriguing, but we're left wanting more edge

Album Review by Laurie Presswood | 19 Feb 2024
  • Whitelands – Night-bound Eyes Are Blind To the Day
Album title: Night-bound Eyes Are Blind To The Day
Artist: Whitelands
Label: Sonic Cathedral
Release date: 23 Feb

It's almost a philosophical conundrum – if an act releases two albums under the same name, one as a soloist and the second as a four-piece, which one is the debut record? Or do they get two shots?

This new Whitelands (now a collaborative effort, previously frontman Etienne Quartey-Papafio’s solo vehicle) has a clear sonic identity. Gone are the distorted chugging indie rock power chords and falling down onto the guitar strings in their place are the hazy arpeggios of a distinct shoegaze sound. In places, Night-bound Eyes... emulates the most skillful of the genre – the music shapes the mood of a track where hazy vocals mean you can’t make out its message.

Tell Me About It has a hopeful and excited sound evocative of the feeling of falling in love, but is also the standout track for its use of light and dark, balancing itself out across multiple registers. It pairs dull, broader pedal-infused sounds with sharp riffs, and the twirls of deary’s guest vocal line (one for fans of Cocteau Twins). It’s this we want to hear more of – they build up that atmospheric and intriguing sound so well, but the best shoegaze always contains something that pops.

Listen to: Cheer, Tell Me About It