Whitney – Light Upon The Lake

Album Review by Andrew Gordon | 10 Jun 2016
Album title: Light Upon The Lake
Artist: Whitney
Label: Secretly Canadian
Release date: 3 June

Retrophobiacs look away now: Max Kakacek and Julian Ehrlich of the glam-rock cribbing Smith Westerns have returned, except this time they’ve dialed the clock back even further to the late sixties and the bucolic sounds of North American folk-rock.

The pair wrote this new material in a cabin in Wisconsin but they could just as well have been holed up at the Big Pink, such is the homage paid to The Band on instantly hummable single Golden Days. The same goes for the majestic horn arrangements that dazzle throughout, sounding as though they're straight off The Last Waltz.

But to appraise this record solely on how vintage it sounds (short answer: uncannily) would be to do it a major disservice. Great musicianship and exquisite songwriting never go out of style and Whitney's debut has both, from the shimmering acoustic guitar duet on the title track to Follow’s joyous singalong outro. No Woman conjures a dreamy golden hour melancholy no matter the weather outside and Polly’s dramatic pauses are the kind that induce goosebumps.

While never less than serviceable, the lyrics underwhelm by comparison, their odes to feeling “hung up” or driving around likely a little too familiar to grant this record the endurance of its forebears. Like the image its title evokes then, Light Upon The Lake is a transient pleasure – but a vivid one while it lasts.