|Whitehorse||Panther In The Dollhouse|
Whitehorse — Panther In The Dollhouse (July 7, 2017) → On their new album, Panther In The Dollhouse, Whitehorse explores conventions and assumptions of domestic life, questions that dovetail with issues of consent, freedom and safety.
→ To celebrate the album’s release, and to acknowledge the work done by those in the sex industry and those who fight for positive and necessary change, Whitehorse and Six Shooter Records will host a live taping of Dan Savage’s Savage Lovecast on July 11, 2017. The event will include interviews and discussion, audience Q&A and a musical performance.
Location: Hamilton, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genre: pop neo~noir, retro psychedelic
Album release: July 7, 2017
Record Label: Six Shooter/Thirty Tigers
01. Epitaph In Tongues 3:32
02. Boys Like You 4:02
03. Die Alone 3:32
04. Trophy Wife 3:14
05. Pink Kimono 3:29
06. Kicking Down Your Door 3:26
07. Gracie 3:34
08. I Can’t Take You With Me (Charlene’s Theme) 3:38
09. Nighthawks 3:23
10. Manitoba Death Star 3:12
℗ 2017 Six Shooter Records
√ Luke Doucet
√ Melissa McClelland
√ Gus Van Go production, bass, percussion and additional guitars
√ Werner F
→ Glam and sleaze, desert grit and subway rats, scum~bags and fakers, hot messes and cold shoulders: welcome to the world of Whitehorse, a rock duo from Toronto.
→ Whitehorse’s brazen sonic breadth encompasses psychedelic surf, arid border rock, lo~fi ingenuity and icy 80’s sparseness. Luke Doucet’s Gretsch White Falcon and impeccable tone, combined with Melissa McClelland’s blazing vocals and badass P~ Bass playing, have made the duo’s sound is unmistakably, inventively ‘Whitehorse.’ The duo’s songwriting is distinguished by its cinematic fiction, full of flawed characters, foiled plans and anti-fairytales that transform real life into sleek, stylized collages of neo~noir drama and high~gloss.
→ Whitehorse began as something of a folk duo, but quickly outgrew that box with their inventive instrumentation and resistance to expectation. The duo moved into ‘space cowboy’ twang territory on the debut apocalyptic full~length The Fate of the World Depends on This Kiss, a fitting title lifted from a Wonder Woman comic. From there, Whitehorse expanded the intergalactic atmospherics with Leave No Bridge Unburned, a chase~scene~velocity acceleration into rock n’ roll, with lethal riffs and near indecent vocal heat. Most recently, the duo rebuilt early electric blues for The Northern South Vol. 1, which showcased the duo’s adventurousness and enviable guitar collection.
→ With the new single “Boys Like You”, Whitehorse once again mixes things up, adding hip~hop producers and processed beats, and expanding their studio sound with samplers, vintage drum~machines and more. The result is a song that is an irresistible fusion of 90s guitar rock riffs and Brit pop~inspired swells with futuristic, cinematic production.
Written By Hal Horowitz // July 5, 2017 // Score: 4 out of 5 stars
→ Toronto~based Whitehorse lends itself to flowery adjectives such as “retro psychedelic pop,” “pop neo~noir,” “psychedelic Spaghetti Western” and, perhaps most vaguely but intriguingly, “space cowboy duo.” Once you spin this third studio full length you’ll probably add more of your own.
→ Married multi~instrumentalists/singer/songwriters Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland have been traveling an impossible~to~pigeonhole style since their 2011 debut EP. Each release brought a mysterious, swampy, reverb~laden sound, gradually adding elusive, subtle elements of hip~hop and blues (their previous 2016 release was an often radical interpretation of classic blues gems) that expanded their boundaries while staying true to core roots values of creatively reworked/reimagined country, folk and rock.
→ There is more than a little Cowboy Junkies to Whitehorse’s flair and not just because both hail from Canada. It’s evident by McClelland’s languorous vocal similarity to Margo Timmins and Doucet’s often thickly reverbed guitar lines. But Whitehorse creates a unique sonic edge by moving in a more DIY~oriented aesthetic, while keeping one foot in the dusky atmospherics that have remained consistent throughout their eclectic catalog.
→ On Panther in the Dollhouse, the couple wraps their voices — solo and in harmony — and instruments around a nebulous concept of sexual freedom. It’s a moody, often stripped~down but not stark vibe that shifts from the ominous lonely funeral strains of “Die Alone” (“But damned if I’ll die alone,” sung by Melissa with equal parts anger and regret) to the light yet potent funky beats that power the breakup lament “I Can’t Take You with Me (Charlene’s Theme),” the latter a Luke vocal where he sings to his soon to be ex, “some things were never meant to be.” The couple even get punked up on the aggressively sexy, pounding rawk of “Pink Kimono,” (“I got things I want to do to you … up all night just living a dirty dream with you”).
→ But most impressive is how pop elements are delicately blended into this shadowy and often sexy gumbo. That’s especially the case in the very Timbuk 3 strains of “Nighthawks,” where McClelland repeats “let me in … it’s gonna break my little heart” against throbbing drums, tambourine and ghostly guitar and synth weaving through the melody. It’s an album highlight nearly hidden away as track nine (out of 10), an indication that this disc is filled with songs just as powerful, if perhaps not as sing~along ready.
→ Production (along with bass, percussion and additional guitars) by Gus Van Go and associate Werner F (returning from Whitehorse’s 2015’s similarly styled Leave No Bridge Unburned), infuses a perfectly textured and layered audio landscape with subtle overdubs that enhance an already idiosyncratic approach. All ten tunes are compact (only one breaks four minutes), yet there is never an indication anything is rushed.
→ On the contrary, most of these songs luxuriate in an unhurried groove which makes this 36~minute album feel longer. It’s certainly one you’ll replay multiple times to appreciate the intricate sonic structure and imbibe Whitehorse’s often oblique wordplay with a sure sense of a hyphenated musical mixture that is elusively familiar and wildly idiosyncratic. → https://americansongwriter.com/
→ Whitehorse is a collaboration between veteran Canadian singer/songwriters Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucet. Both prior to and after their marriage in 2006, the two artists maintained successful solo careers, but by 2011 had decided to pursue a new band together. Based in Hamilton, Ontario, they released their self~titled debut on Six Shooter Records in 2011. A fiery mix of Southern~inspired Americana and atmospheric rock, the album set the tone for their highly acclaimed second album, 2012’s The Fate of the World Depends on This Kiss, which was shortlisted for the prestigious Polaris Prize the following year. The year 2013 also saw the release of the covers EP The Road to Massey Hall to commemorate their first performance at the legendary Toronto venue. In a uniquely Canadian move, they issued an EP of French~language renditions of several of their songs in 2014 called Éphémère Sans Repère. Working with producer Gus Van Go, McClelland and Doucet explored a more diverse and fully realized sound on their third LP, 2015’s Leave No Bridge Unburned. The album won Adult Alternative Album of the Year at the 2016 Juno Awards. That same year, the duo released a collection of blues covers called The Northern South, Vol. 1. Early in 2017, Whitehorse pursued another musical direction by incorporating hip~hop loops and electronic instrumentation for the single “Boys Like You.” ~ Timothy Monger
|Whitehorse||Panther In The Dollhouse|