Whitney: Forever Turned Around
With their 2016 debut, Light Upon the Lake , Whitney—the Chicagobred project helmed by Julien Ehrlich and Max Kakacek—presented sad music for generally happy people. Their sound was elegantly moody: compact, quickly catchy and eminently hummable mellow-rock bummerjams that never wallowed in misery, occasionally springing on a breezy groove. These were songs for the first day when the sun seems to shine again after some stormy weather. With their second album, Forever Turned Around, Whitney don’t stray too far from that sound, but there’s certainly more melancholy here; the clouds hang a bit lower. And, thankfully, the duo’s songwriting remains as strong as ever, meaning Forever Turned Around is a veritable companion piece to one of the most beloved indie-rock albums of the last few years. With Bon Iver collaborator and erstwhile Megafaun member Brad Cook and Jonathan Rado of Foxygen providing production duty, Whitney have fleshed out their gorgeously swaying songs with a garden of lush accompaniment: warm horn parts, ‘70s AM-radio guitar and toy piano give these 10 tracks a soft glow to drown out the buzz and drone of, say, your morning commute. Ehrlich and Kakacek’s writing is more direct here as well: There’s a palpable sting to lyrics like “Though we started losing touch/ I’ve been hanging on because you’re the only one I love/ Even when you’re giving up” (“Giving Up”), and the chorus of “Used to Be Lonely” will be knocking around the empty room of your mind from this breakup till your next love begins— and it’s time to put Whitney away for awhile.