Album Review: Whitney, Light Upon the Lake, June 6, 2016

Who is Whitney, you ask? The Chicago band is made up of two individuals: Julian Ehrlich (drums/vocals; formerly of Unknown Mortal Orchestra) and Max Kakacek (guitar; formerly of Smith Westerns). The vocals take me back to a sound lost long ago; I hate to compare artists and their sounds, but it is almost Neil Young–like. The sound captured has a somewhat classic rock feel, yet with a little alternative and a jazz twist.

The 10 tracks here do not disappoint, from beginning to end. Have you ever had the first song of an album reach out and grab you? This is what happened to me with “No Woman,” the first track on Whitney’s debut Light upon the Lake, which starts this album off strong. You know what you are getting when that song begins, and although it’s hard to pick a favorite from this set, that’s probably it. That rock-and-jazz feel really comes in on the instrumental track, “Red Moon.” The horns are off the hook on this one; the song is so stripped down.

Whitney’s website has three fun videos for their songs “No Woman,” “No Matter Where We Go,” and “Golden Days”—all great songs, and perhaps a little insight to the band. The music is laid back and fun, but not in a bland, mindless “pop” way. However, you will find that some of the songs have a melancholy, sad vibe. It is the kind of music you want to throw on your stereo on a lazy Sunday morning.

Light upon the Lake is everything you could wish for, especially as a debut album. I think I have fallen in love with some new music, and the name is Whitney. Check it out. Grade: A+ | Tracy Fort

Whitney will be touring this summer to promote their new album. (You can catch them July 18 at Off Broadway in St. Louis.) While I have not yet seen them live, I’m sure it will be a good show based what I’ve heard and seen.

Check out Tracy on her internationally acclaimed radio program, The Tracy Fort Show, online at or via internet radio apps. In addition to live streams, you can listen to podcasts of previous shows. Follow The Tracy Fort Show on Twitter at @TracyFortShow.


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