Their third + best
Jack Vincent
12:33 13th September 2022

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What is a spark? You can spark a fire, there’s the spark of new romance and there’s the spark of inspiration. The spark of inspiration is incredibly prevalent and personal for me at the moment as someone who has spent much of this year trapped in the throes of a deep depression. Now on the other side, I am more than anything else, inspired. Inspired to write, inspired to create, inspired to take life head on. 

Whitney seem to agree with this sentiment. While not denying the existence of life’s troubles, SPARK — the third and best album by the folky indie duo — is full of hope for better times. All of Whitney’s music has shared a similar theme, but previous albums were more insular and focused on the self. With SPARK, Whitney have opened their hearts up to the world and while still incredibly personal, the lyrics seem to share the feeling that things are going to get better. The first lines — from the fantastic ‘NOTHING REMAINS’ — hit like a freight train: "Troubles never go away / but they change’’. 

Musically, Whitney haven’t so much changed their style as they have their instrumental palette. Lead single ‘REAL LOVE’ announced this change in the best way. An immaculately produced pop single, the use of electronics is a surprising but welcome change when compared to the acoustic and often rustic sound of previous albums. In the context of the album it’s still just as good, with lead vocalist and drummer Julien Ehrlich’s singing just as beautiful as always but with layers of nuance tucked into the chorus. Even the songs that most recall previous albums such as ‘BLUE’ and ‘MEMORY’ have some subtle production flourishes such as the flutes (‘BLUE’) and a deceptively huge chorus ('MEMORY'). 

The best songs on SPARK are the more experimental (for lack of a better term) tracks. Single ‘TWIRL’ might well be one of Whitney's best tracks. Swelling synths unfurl gradually into a glorious orchestral finish, in which the immortal line "I know this life only bring bad news / but I’m gonna try to hold on to you’’ reads like a mission statement for SPARK. ‘BACK THEN’ also neatly sums this up: “We found a way to live while the world was burning / Real life was caving in / Good days were bound to end / Never thought back then / we could learn to love again’’. I learnt to love again, Whitney learnt to love again and so can you. 

SPARK arrives 16 September via Secretly Canadian.

Grab your copy of the Gigwise print magazine here.

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Photo: Press