Friday, January 22, 2016

Listen: Whitney - "No Woman"

photo by Sandy Kim

It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows Julien Ehrlich or Max Kakacek's former bands Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Smith Westerns that the duo's new collaboration is so effortless timeless. Both of their former bands mainly relied on updating retro sounds and experimenting within to great success. And yet, "No Woman" finds Whitney capturing the magic in a completely different context that displays they're more than just a carbon copy of either of the twosomes former bands.

"No Woman" is a wistful slice of soft focus pop that somehow manages to recall Ennio Morricone and west coast 70's folk rock singer-songwriters in equal measure with a smoothness that belies its pining lyrics. Whitney manage to craft a lovelorn trek that doesn't let itself drag enough to be a outright ballad. It's a sonic cousin of Jessica Pratt's On Your Own Love Again but certainly stands on its own merits: Ehrlich's falsetto soothes like a tender caress, the arrangement is simple with bursts of lush layering and ornamental string and horn flourishes. Its plod is casual with expansive windswept stretches that compliment the ramble-ready tune. It's easily the soundtrack to everything from a head-clearing walk to a train ride taking you to new beginnings. "No Woman" doesn't insist too much on its lyrical narrative and thus gains a sort of all purpose utility from its chill, easy listening scuttle. Whitney have woven gold on "No Woman" and it'll be a pleasure to see how they grow their potential from here on: either inhabiting this introspective retro pop or merely utilizing as an excellent starting point.

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