Whitney plays to musical strengths on new cover album


Owen Conway, Contributing Writer

As a band, Whitney is good at whathey doAs the kings of soft indie rock, Whitney’s signature high-pitched vocals and incredibly chilled-out sound earned them critical acclaim on their 2019 sophomore album Forever Turned Around. Seldom does a Whitney song stray far from the style that the band has built around themselves, as they know what they’re good at and know how to utilize it to its maximum potential. On their new album Candid, Whitney pays homage to artists like KelelaDavid Byrne, John Denver, SWV and more by covering their songs with the signature Whitney sound to great effect. 


Unlike the ultra-mellow sound of “Forever Turned Around, Candid offers a good display of Whitney putting their foot on the gas a bit more, all while maintaining the sound that has come to define them. The heavier drums of “A.M. AM” and quick guitar strumming of “Strange Overtones” stand out among this collection of covers as solid showcases of instrumentation for a band whose standout feature has almost always been the vocals.  


Whitney’s mastership of their own signature sound is scattered throughout the album, from the signature indie, less-is-more guitar licks of “Bank Head” and “High on a Rocky Ledge,” to the acoustic guitar paired with another surprise instrument like horns or keyboard on “Rain” and “Crying, Laughing, Loving, Lying,” to a culmination of all of that on the instrumental “Something Happen.” 


In perhaps the most recognizable song of the batch, Whitney invites us to sing along at the top of our lungs to the irresistible “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” John Denver’s classic hit sounds as beautiful as ever thanks to singer Julian Ehrlich’s uniquely gorgeous vocals and Whitney’s partnership with Katie Crutchfield, a 2020 musical hero in her own right for her band Waxahatchee’s critically acclaimed album Saint Cloud. 


Candid is Whitney firmly in their comfort zone, a place where they belong and where fans will be happy to see them stay, as it consistently produces music as lovely as this cover album.