Shay Mehr on
Guitarist Max Kakacek, formerly of the Smith Westerns, and vocalist/drummer Julien Ehrlich, of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, joined forces to form Whitney, debuting with “Light Upon the Lake,” released last June, and crisscrossing North America and Europe to tally almost 200 shows in 2016. Those travels will continue, bringing them to Coachella (plus two more SoCal dates in April) as the Chicagoans play out their summer road trip soundtrack grounded in reality.
Their big single “No Woman” leaves little to the imagination. It’s a warm and nostalgic trip on “the city train” or the “road” reminiscing about a past relationship — the sepia-toned photograph one digs up searching for the reasons it all went wrong. Ehrlich’s forlorn falsetto is desperate enough to anticipate it to crack at the chorus, but fuzzy enough for sentiment. Piano, trumpet and guitar melodies give the song the necessary romantic flourishes it needs to successfully drive its message home, and serves as a primer for the rest of the record. Their album was recorded in L.A. with Johnathan Rado of Foxygen.
Sarina Nihei’s animated video for “Polly” adds a twinkle to the song’s already glowing keyboards and horns.
||| Watch: The videos for “Polly” and “My Woman”
||| Also: Stream “Golden Days” and “No Matter Where We Go”