Whitney: Forever Turned Around (Secretly Canadian) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine

Whitney

Forever Turned Around

Secretly Canadian

Aug 30, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


It seems it would be sacrilege for Whitney to release an album in a season other than summer. The Chicago six-piece's 2016 debut album, Light Upon the Lake, seamlessly incorporated a bright, jammy, but somewhat sluggish country-rock ambiance, the sound of sluggish August heat and the triumph of fresh, new love. They toured around the world supporting Light Upon the Lake for nearly three years. However, their follow up, Forever Turned Around, sounds less like a triumph and more like a band settling into a firm groovewhere Light Upon the Lake breached mostly undiscovered territory ('70s AM radio country and soul, restrained jams encompassing brilliant horn arrangements and immediately identifiable guitar licks), Forever Turned Around picks up precisely where the band left off. That is the good news. 

The bad news: Whitney picked up right where they left off. Forever Turned Around, conceptually, rings with the distinct comfort of a well-missed friend (Whitney's sound is harmless and breezy), but it seldom departs from where they left offthe most cathartic and moving moments of Light Upon the Lake are noticeably absent. Instead, the skeleton of Light Upon the Lake haunts every note of Forever Turned Around. Where there's a subconscious expectation of a horn solo or an explosive full-band eruption, the songs on Forever Turned Around collapse inward. One of the album's finest moments, much like "Red Moon" on Light Upon the Lake, is the instrumental "Rhododendron." For a band with such a distinct vocal presence, it presents a troubling outcome for a much-anticipated follow-up album. 

That's not to say there aren't any great songs here. Forever Turned Around is a hit-or-miss record; there are indeed a few hits. The compressed and underplayed "Song For Ty" and the charming "My Life Alone" are what stand out most. Whitney's aesthetic fetishization of The Band and Grateful Dead, as well as Allen Toussaint's criminally underrated 1975 album Southern Nights is every bit noticeable as it was on their debut (the sextet covered "Southern Nights" on their 2017 touring "freebie" Demo Recordings. It is gorgeous). But influences begin to blend with the uninspired, and with that, Forever Turned Around fails to pack the punch Light Upon the Lake did so effortlessly. (www.whitneytheband.com)

Author rating: 6.5/10

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Average reader rating: 5/10



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