23rd November | SWX
Not to be confused with the inimitable, irreplaceable, late, great Whitney Houston, Whitney (the band) are deceptive in many namesakes. No, they’re not a tribute to the voice of a generation, nor are they, as their label may suggest, Secretly Canadian – they are an indie-folk duo from the Windy City. They’ve lived other lives, both in their previous band, Smith Westerns and as session and touring musicians for alt-music royalty, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, among others.
The band have expanded, as they have taken their new musical direction seriously. It’s no longer just Max Kakacek and Julien Ehrlich. Instead, those soaringly emotional choruses made for snowy mountain drives and sunrises on trains are lovingly constructed by a seven-piece collective. Yet Kakacek and Ehrlich still form the heart of the project. Their gentle, wistful songwriting shines on their last two albums – their debut, Light Upon the Lake and its most recent follow-up, Forever Turned Around – is, and this is a word that should be reserved for selling furniture to the middle-classes and middle-aged, simply stunning. You never thought you’d cry in the middle of the SWX dancefloor, but maybe their show will that very night.
See the video for ‘Used To Be Lonely’ here: