Whitney’s Discography: Your New Summer Playlist

A dive into a band with just the right mix of bright and muted tones to carry you through the break


Jackson Crocker, Staff Writer

Everybody has plans for summer. Whether they are reuniting with old friends or making new ones, bridge jumping and late night drives to Safeway, the only thing missing now is a soundtrack. The Chicago duo Whitney has the perfect blend of sunny lyrics and melancholy guitar to keep your summer refreshing and even a little introspective. 

The soft rock/guitar pop band has been putting out sublime songs since 2016 with the release of “Light Upon The Lake,” the duo’s first album. With Max Kakacek—a former member of “The Smith Westerns”—on guitar and Julien Ehrlrihc on drums after his departure from Unknown Mortal Orchestra, the album also features members from The Touching Void, Ehrlrihc’s former band. The album is a bittersweet exploration of love and moving on. The fusion of the Smith Westerns’ rock style and the Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s electric orchestral scores along with Ehrlrihc’s distinctive vocals produces a sound that’s almost entirely unique. 

One of the many standout tracks is “No Woman,” with its sunken guitar strums and a sparse brass section that evokes a sense of longing or melancholic freedom. Another is “Golden Days,” more upbeat in contrast to “No Woman,” and with lighter instrumentals but still in touch with the sense of loss that this album exudes. With lyrics like “Oh don’t you save me from hanging on, I tell myself what we had is gone,”  this song showcases a beautiful mix of the band’s strengths and is a contender for the best track on the album. “Light Upon The Lake,” perhaps the duo’s strongest effort to date, will leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling that can’t be replicated and for that alone the track deserves a listen.

Whitney’s second feature length album, “Forever Turned Around,” is more of the same in the best way possible. Soft rock pieces like “Valleys (My Love)” will pull you out of bed in the morning with the soaring “pretending Everything’s alright” in its first verse. Tracks like “Giving Up” also provide the perfect soundtrack for those late night excursions with friends with its slow plodding tempo and an infectious, restrained guitar. The imagery here evokes breathtaking pine forests and babbling brooks nestled away in the wooded hills. Perfect for any Elk Lake getaway or impromptu camping adventure. 

Maybe the talk of love and loss doesn’t quite fit your summer mood. In that case, Whitney has those bases covered there too. The band’s most recent album, “Candid”— a collection of covers—brings more varied themes to Whitney’s familiar style. Drummer Ehrlrihc calls it an exploration into the band’s evolution. This selection really fleshes out and gives new depth to the covered songs. From the perfect pitch of the “Yesterday” on the duo’s cover of “Country Roads” to the airy guitar strums on their rendition of “Strange Overtones,” the unique track entirely transforms the soundscape of the song into a wash of 70’s nostalgia and soft guitar that feels like a gentle breeze passing through lakeside reeds. Each song has new dimensions that are beyond entertaining to explore.