Max Kakacek and Julien Ehrlich used to be in The Smith Westerns – it’s taken heartbreak, loss and crashing on couches to journey to their new band.
On his Twitter feed, Julien Ehrlich has posted a message from his father. It’s a screen grab of a comment about Whitney, the new band he has formed with Max Kakacek, since the Smith Westerns, of which they were both formerly members, went on permanent hiatus. “I come to Whitney for the guitar,” says the comment, “and stay for the cute fuckable post-hipster bros.” It’s funny because it’s true.
The band I meet are certainly cute, certainly, erm, fuckable, although they wear it lightly (Julien and Max have teamed up with five new recruits to make up Whitney: Tracy Chouteau, Malcolm Brown, Josiah Marshall, Charles Glanders and Will Miller, whom they have just given a rather fetching haircut). But the thing that strikes me most about them is their sincerity; their unabashed, unapologetic passion for the work and the obvious excitement they have for this new venture. If the hipster movement encompassed a counter-cultural cool that was about irony, kitsch and detached insincerity masquerading as depth, then Whitney, as the antithesis of that, are definitively post-hipster. “We’re not going to pop up with a synth record any time soon,” they tell me halfway through the interview, as if to prove a point.