Whitney Basks in the Fading Light of Summer on its Latest Release. The band performs live this weekend at The Wiltern.

By Kayla Reed
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Photo by Olivia Bee

Clocking in at just over 30 minutes, Whitney’s Forever Turned Around is the perfect soundtrack for a windows-down late afternoon commute. It causes the golden sun and crisp whispers of fall to suddenly take precedence over whatever fresh hell the 101 has managed to conjure.

Whitney hasn’t substantially pivoted on their sophomore effort, but why mess with a good thing? Fans of Whitney’s first album, Light Upon the Lake, should pretty much expect more of the same, though softer overall. Julien Ehrlich’s voice is still a calming, emotionally complex falsetto; guitarist Max Kakacek still channels the plucky riffs of yesteryear to drive each track; Will Miller’s horns still come in at just the right moment. The Chicago darlings have honed a fascinating formula that pleasantly subdues the listener with groovy, wispy, easy listening.

The album as a whole is quite autumnal. Themes of fading love and aimlessness prevail, tapping into the feeling of looking back on a warm golden summer that’s come to pass. The weather’s cooler and there are new mysteries ahead, but one can’t help reminiscing about the excitement that only just stirred in the formidable heat. Ehrlich even invokes the inevitable twinge of mortality felt as time passes by on “Before I Know It” as he sings, “Falling rain and a cold wind blowin’/ Seasons changing before I know it/ I’ll be gone.”

Forever Turned Around also functions as a pretty solid breakup album. It’s not the one you listen to over and over the day your heart shatters, but it’s definitely a solid choice for the moment a few months later when you finally decide to delete the photos or throw out the mementos. Standout track “Valley (My Love)” taps into the moment just before ridding yourself of those painful reminders. There’s a poignant mix of love, longing, nostalgia, and acceptance in Ehrlich’s simple lyrics: “Maybe life is the way it seems/ I feel like I’m holding on/ To a place in your heart that’s long gone.”

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West coast tour starts this week with @lala_band__ 🙂 it also rolls straight into UK/EU tour but i don’t have those dates on me right now ❤️ many of these shows are on low ticket warning so don’t sleep or u might miss outttt 📷: @poonehghana Thu-Oct-17 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue Fri-Oct-18 Milwaukee, WI Turner Hall Sat-Oct-19 Omaha, NE Slowdown Mon-Oct-21 Denver, CO Ogden Theatre Wed-Oct-23 Salt Lake City, UT Metro Thu-Oct-24 Boise, ID Knitting Factory Fri-Oct-25 Seattle, WA Neptune Theatre *SOLD OUT* Sat-Oct-26 Vancouver, BC VENUE *SOLD OUT* Sun-Oct-27 Portland, OR Revolution Hall *SOLD OUT* Mon-Oct-28 Portland, OR Revolution Hall Wed-Oct-30 Chico, CA The Big Room at Sierra Nevada Brewery Thu-Oct-31 Sonoma, CA Sonoma Redwood Barn Fri-Nov-01 San Francisco, CA Warfield Sat-Nov-02 Los Angeles, CA Wiltern Sun-Nov-03 San Diego, CA Observatory San Diego Mon-Nov-04 Santa Ana, CA Yost Theater

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Throughout it all, there’s just something about this album that is plainly delightful. Whitney creates a soothing aloofness by making it all seem so easy. A breeziness belies the impressive technical proficiency of the instruments. The lyrics are simple yet cutting. Ehrlich’s signature falsetto emotes with both strength and the utmost subtlety. The combination of all these juxtapositions allows the listener a rare moment of calm escape, even if the songs are playing in the background.

Perhaps this is how Whitney gained its reputation as a must-see live act despite its mellow recordings. The band seems to resonate with audiences in a very special way, even earning itself a holiday in Chicago. Mayor Lori Lightfoot officially declared August 30, the day of Forever Turned Around’s release, Whitney Day in the windy city. Those hoping to see what the hype is about or catch another dose of Whitney’s magic can see the band in its full seven-piece glory this Saturday, November 2nd at The Wiltern, and Monday, November 4th at Yost Theater in Santa Ana. Forever Turned Around is available on all major streaming services and for physical purchase on Whitney’s official website, whitneytheband.com. 

Forever Turned Around Track List:

1. Giving Up

2. Used To Be Lonely

3. Before I Know It

4. Song For Ty

5. Valleys (My Love)

6. Rhododendron

7. My Life Alone

8. Day & Night

9. Friend Of Mine

10. Forever Turned Around

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