mon 10/08/2020

CD: Whitney - Forever Turned Around | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Whitney - Forever Turned Around

CD: Whitney - Forever Turned Around

A subtle but beautiful return for the Chicago natives

Like the album cover, Whitney are mixing from a deeper palette

As days get shorter and the sun tucks itself behind a blanket of clouds, Whitney return with the bittersweet sound of summer ending. Forever Turned Around is the long-awaited follow up to 2016’s Light Upon the Lake, and the band have lost none of their melodic magic. It is old city soul brought to the hills and forests of the American frontier, and a much welcome break in these trying times.

Opener and lead single “Giving Up” shows the band have opted for evolution over revolution. Those trademark falsetto vocals are still there, the horn-led breakdown and uplifting chorus are very on brand. But the songwriting is more accomplished, the instrumentation more complex, and the emotions not as simple as they once were.

“Day & Night” is a standout, its melody gorgeously twisting through the chord changes. So too is “My Life Alone”, with a chorus that catches you off guard while sounding timeless. It’s impressive how subtly inventive the band are with rhythms, especially since the drummer is pulling double duty on lead vocals. Most of the songs follow similar structures, so when there are cute variations, it’s all the more powerful. Like many of the records they nod to, it rewards repeat listening.

Forever Turned Around’s production is a step above their debut. Under the vision of Brad Cook (Bon Iver, Waxahatchee) and Jonathan Rado (of Foxygen fame), no instrument is wasted. Every part is clear, adding to harmonies and counters, whether it’s a piano mimicking the vocals or duelling acoustic guitars. It’s the sound of a band supremely confident in their musicianship, not feeling the need to show off. The closest you get is “Rhododendron”, a midway soul jam that lets those horns run free.

Other singles “Used to Be Lonely” and “Valleys (My Love)” are great songs, but the real joys lay deep in the album tracks. You can let it wash over you, or put the headphones on and focus. You’ll get something from both. If you’re feeling the autumn blues, Forever Turned Around can provide some real aural nourishment.

@OwenRichards91

It’s the sound of a band supremely confident in their musicianship

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Average: 4 (1 vote)

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