Can you imagine America singing The Chordettes‘ Mr Sandman rearranged by the Fleet Foxes? That is what No Woman, the first track from Whitney‘s debut album, sounds like. Whitney, a meta-narrative device, like the rose on their artwork, is a multi-headed creature with the heart made of Smith Westerns, Touching Voids and Unknown Mortal Orchestra collaborators Max Kakacek and Julien Ehrlich. It also has a number of different, er, appendages acting as a character going on the road à la Kerouac, only penning songs instead of books.
They wrote their West Coast-inspired songs in Chicago and pulled a Bon Iver by recording them in a cabin in Wisconsin. Instead of pining over a lost love (which informed their record too, together with other painful experiences) watching the snow melt like Justin Vernon did, Whitney found amusement and solace with hatchets and bonfires, doing all the things that bros would do, and choosing fun over struggle.
The result is an album you can’t wait to spend the summer with, reminding us of Real Estate and Tobias Jesso Jr. Light Upon The Lake turns out to be an admirable record, melding Britpop and Americana with a twist of Balearic sound. Ten lovely tracks, where jazzy brasses (like the ones in Red Moon, an interesting instrumental break) meet Beatles-esque guitars and melodies on Golden Days and the title track. There’s something to be said about the great folkish vocal layers and fresh, exotic taste, perfect for a sunny afternoon spent on the grass with friends. That’s it: too exquisitely post-modern to be real. But it is, and it’s wonderful.