(Secretly Canadian)


SPARK was built from more than just a burst of inspiration. Holing up in a Portland bungalow, Chicago duo Whitney rode the wave of their changing lives, with the passion to watch their past burn only to rise from the ashes as the motivating energy behind their third album. Their pop-focused sound is interlayered with folk and electronic elements that create a landscape record, a piece of work that lets simple beginnings shine through. 

Their reflective lyrics carry a Rex Orange County-esque sense of emotion, and the falsetto vocals could fit right in with a new Unknown Mortal Orchestra record. Yet it’s the mixture of pop and lo-fi rock that melds the 12 tracks together. Waxing and waning with strings throughout, a dreaminess cuts through ‘MEMORY’; there is a simplicity to Whitney’s hooks which you can’t fault. A sunshine atmosphere is the result of this, and you can picture yourself driving down the highway on ‘NEVER CROSSED MY MIND’, which feels like a sister to the bass-heavy ‘REAL LOVE’. 

This uplifting, Doobie Brothers-style approach continues in the record’s second half. ‘LOST CONTROL’ bounces along with a groovy bass and the wavey harmonies add a certain sheen. Floating along with soothing melodies on ‘TWIRL’ and ‘HEART WILL BEAT’, the band draw close to the burning flames of their changing lives with their more laidback tracks. Whitney have created an album that’s a neat document of what two friends can make in challenging times (even if it does come across as a bit cheesy like on ‘BACK THEN’); they’ve emerged from the smoke with a gleaming record.