Whitney — Forever Turn Around (30 Aug., 2019) Pamela MÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃéndez ÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃâ Time (22 Feb 2019)•→      Mellow, country~informed indie pop/rock from the songwriting duo of Julien Ehrlich and Max Kakacek, formerly of Smith Westerns.
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Genre: Indie Rock
Recording Location:
•   April Base Studios
•   Jake P’s
•   Prairie Sun Studios
•   Strange Magic Studios
Album release: 30 August 2019
Record Label: Secretly Canadian
Duration:     32:31
01. Giving Up   3:11
02. Used To Be Lonely   3:50
03. Before I Know It   2:34
04. Song For Ty   2:48
05. Valleys (My Love)   3:57
06. Rhododendron   2:07
07. My Life Alone   3:11
08. Day & Night   2:43
09. Friend of Mine   4:10
10. Forever Turned Around   4:00
Written by:
•   Julien Ehrlich / Max Kakacek  1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
•   Julien Ehrlich / Max Kakacek / Will Miller  2
•   Ziyad Asrar / Julien Ehrlich / Max Kakacek  3
•   Ziyad Asrar    Composer, Engineer
•   Malcolm Brown    Piano, Wurlitzer
•   Brad Cook    Bass, Keyboards, Producer
•   Julien Ehrlich    Composer, Guitar, Percussion, Vocals
•   Zack Hansen    Engineer
•   Whitney Johnson    Viola
•   Max Kakacek    Bass, Composer, Guitar, Keyboards
•   Lia Kohl    Cello
•   Joe LaPorta    Mastering
•   Sofia Macht    Paintings
•   Josiah Marshall    Percussion
•   Tucker Martine    Engineer, Mixing
•   Will Miller    Horn, Keyboards, Composer
•   Nate Nauseda    Engineer
•   Jacob Portrait    Engineer
•   Jonathan Rado    Organ, Piano, Producer
•   Tristan Rodman    Engineer
•   Macie Stewart    Violin
•   Whitney    Producer
by Sophie Kemp, Sept. 4, 2019; Score: 7.8
•→    The Chicago band’s second album dials back their beaming, golden~hour soft rock to a gentle lull.
•→    Whitney’s music lives in the harmonious space where contemporary indie rock melts into ’70s soft rock. It’s part of what makes them so easy to enjoy, like a nuzzle from someone else’s dog. They sound nice, simple, scruffy, which doesn’t always amount to compelling music, but the band’s palatability works in their favor. At this point, Whitney are a phenomenon, a commodifiable entity. They’re legends in their hometown of Chicago: They have their own holiday and a beer named in their honor. Even to the casual indie~rock listener, they’re inescapable. And rare as it may seem, the reason for the fervor is because they’re actually good.
•→    Their second album, Forever Turned Around, is welcoming and wooly, yet slightly more isolated and somber than its 2016 predecessor. There aren’t any standouts here, no “Golden Days” equivalent that you could bop along to at a cookout. Instead, Whitney dial it back to a gentle lull. Forever Turn Around ends up being meandering, sleepy sometimes to a fault, a charmingly doe~eyed take on the kind of classic rock revivalism that plays well at music festivals.
•→    Forever Turned Around is a study in environments for falling in and out of love, finding beauty in the little things, and meditating on the passage of time. The imagery comes in the form of redwood trees, rhododendrons in bloom, and dewy grass on a cool morning. On “My Life Alone,” co~frontman Julien Ehrlich sings of “lonely nights/Waiting for the sunrise” and passing the time by watching “rivers roll,” while swelling horns and honeyed guitar stretch into AM~radio rock territory. “Valleys (My Love),” a reflection on the late stages of a relationship, is a more effective environment for Whitney to explore what it means to feel lovelorn. Fingerpicked guitar meets vintage organ, warming the space around Ehlrich’s words like blush blended into a cheek. The lyrics feel stark in comparison: “I feel like I’m holding on/To a place in your heart that’s long gone,” he sings, his voice heavy with melancholy.
•→    At its worst, Forever Turned Around is a bit boring. If you listen to it too many times you might forget it’s on; it blends into the background easily. But the mood it conjures is surprisingly rich. The album plays out like a gorgeous day at the end of the summer and the bittersweet calm that follows as the weather gets cooler. It encapsulates the idea of the saddest and most perfect time of year: You put on a song as buoyant as “Giving Up,” or “Rhododendron,” and you see a version of yourself that you may have lost touch with. Whitney haven’t changed much since their last album, and truthfully we don’t expect them to. They’ll keep releasing beaming soft rock albums coated in golden~hour light. But dependability is its own kind of virtue. Like holidays and beers, Whitney are the same each time.
•→    https://pitchfork.com/
By Evan Lilly / 28 AUGUST 2019, 12:29 BST; Score: 8.5
•→    Chicago’s favorite sons, Whitney, return with their much~anticipated sophomore record, Forever Turned Around.
•→    Like their debut, Light Upon the Lake, Forever… tackles themes of wonderment and reflection, focusing most on the relationships we choose to invest ourselves in. The project, led by vocalist/drummer Julien Ehrlich and guitarist Max Kakacek have expanded their vision accordingly, demonstrating in detail why their work remains so symbolic. Forever… harnesses a welcomed continuation from where they left off: ten promising, yet all~too~brief, soft rock tracks, proving the duo remain well beyond their years as a prospering act.
•→    As musicians opt to dabble in the past, there is oftentimes a razor~thin line they can skirt when it comes to the idea of nostalgia, and this can be more detrimental than fruitful. But while the familiarity and the potential to persuade sceptics can compel musicians to ride that path, the damage can be irreparable. Take for instance Aussie cock~rockers, Jet, or even more recently the dreck that came in the form of Greta Van Fleet’s debut late last year. It all more~or~less came from a shared mindset to take that victory lap — to squeeze what was left from an era and modernize it — or, by simply ripping their predecessors clean off.
•→    Let’s be perfectly clear, though — Whitney are a class above the likes of these aforementioned musicians. Sure, while the duo take cues from a slew of ‘60s guitar pop~rock, they invite those comparisons lightly, never treading into territory where they know they shouldn’t. What we’re left with shows Whitney as a rare act capable of reshaping what it means to invest in something timeless.
•→    This mid~summer saw the first taste from Forever…, the LP’s lead single and track, “Giving Up” — a bright reintroduction to why Whitney remain so talked about. Its steady, uncomplicated jaunt accompanied with a horn~laden section envisions the winding down of warmer months. But even as we tie comparisons to Whitney’s name, the duo have remarkably pushed through the ash. Similarly to Light… and even during their successful heyday as part of Smith Westerns, Ehrlich and Kakacek held their ground and a developed a knack for what it meant to orchestrate something prolific. The duo have managed to demonstrate that know~how here.
•→    Yet, while Forever… takes subtle turns throughout its runtime, it’s an LP that generally stays the course for what we’d expect the duo to produce for a follow~up. There’s no grand departure, but despite its slight predictability, Whitney accordingly rouse and summon a charming ethos that round their new batch of songs into a striking collection, one that’s sure to find its way on a most everyone’s year~end lists. “Used to Be Lonely” swells quietly while Erhlich’s vocals expectedly soar, but occasionally come over as slightly arduous, as his projection over~resonates. But even as he pushes his falsetto’s range to its limit, it’s a minor grievance because Whitney are still a young band: still evolving, still aspiring, and taking the proper risks to counter. The LP’s shortest, all~instrumental cut, “Rhododendron” proves this tact. Garnished with jazz touchstones, its groove settles in for around two minutes as a pleasant mid~point for Forever… before cutting out.
•→    Tracks like “Valleys (My Love)” and “My Life Alone” saunter along, relaxed as ever — a direction the entire LP takes, but even comparatively to Light…, Forever… could easily be seen as an extension, even though it poses a different message. Albeit, despite their overlap, Whitney distinguish themselves rather solemnly here. They don’t appear to be in this mad~dash rush to solidify themselves whereas that was a minor issue with the Smith Westerns, a vibe that oftentimes felt forced, particularly due to Omari’s overconfidence, which hindered them greatly. But as you observe a live Whitney set or listen to their songs, it’s clear what’s being projected: there’s camaraderie between them, a theme that encapsulates the LP. There’s an authenticity and there’s sincerity within it — something tried and true. Forever…, described as an LP around partnership, is passionately displayed, a love and a steadfastness that Erhlich and Kakacek have expertly strung through until it beams like white light.
•→    Still, while Forever… stands as a cohesive work, its last three songs stand out, containing some of Whitney’s most powerful writing to date. “Day & Night”’s quiet twang rollicks along with whimsey whereas “Friend of Mine” serves as an intimate ode to the ones we hold dear in our hearts. LP closer, “Forever Turned Around” stands as a soothing send~off — a track with minimal percussion varietions and sophisticated arrangements as Erhlich’s vocals are upfront and dazzling.
•→    Whitney accomplish a grandeur all their own on Forever…, finding themselves, right now, exactly where they should be.
•→ https://www.thelineofbestfit.com/