Whitney – Light Upon The Lake (album review)

by Woody on June 6, 2016

Whitney

Photo credit: Dominique Goncalves

Light Upon The Lake has slowly become one of my favorites in 2016. Funny thing is that after reading the initial PR email, I was prepared to dislike it; mostly due to the association with Smith Westerns; a band I found to be joyless and uninspired. I had no reason to expect any different.

The next hurdle was the falsetto that Julian Ehrlich sings in. Normally, that’s a deal breaker for me as well but after a few listens of No Woman, I started to feel the beauty that came with Erlich’s falsetto and the wonderful guitar playing of Max Kakacek (he of Smith Westerns fame). Then they released Golden Days when announcing the album and I was hooked. A few weeks later I received the full album and I haven’t been able to stop praising it since.

Ehrlich and Kakacek wrote this album after they each went though breakups. But labeling this as a breakup album would be wrong in my opinion. To me, it is more about two buddies helping each other during a tough time. They holed up in a Chicago apartment, writing the songs together; Whitney becoming their shared identity. Says Kakacek, “We were both writing as this one character, and whenever we were stuck, we’d ask, ‘What would Whitney do in this situation?'”

The next step up in their evolution was making the trek out to record with Jonathan Rado, sleeping in him backyard for weeks. Together with the help of some other talented musicians, they crafted a wonderful album of lo-fi country soul. It captures a period in their life in a way that combines the wistfulness of youth with the burdens of becoming an adult.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

Whitney is here

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