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Whitney reignite their Spark


Release date: 16 September 2022
Whitney spark art
15 September 2022, 00:00 Written by Oliver Kuscher

Max Kakacek and Julien Ehrlich – together known as Whitney – felt like they outgrew their version of dreamy, soft folk-pop during the recording of their second album Forever Turned Around.

The album still turned out to be beautiful, but the pair needed some rebirth. Two things then happened that would be the catalyst for Whitney’s much-desired artistic evolution: each member would go through a break-up, and the world went into lockdown. From their rented Portland bungalow, as the world stood still and they digested the ends of their relationships, Kakacek and Ehrlich pursued a gleaming new beginning.

And while some things haven’t changed on Spark – the rich melodies that make you cry and smile, the tender falsetto vocals full of hope and longing – some things have. Whitney have updated their sound, but they do it with such subtlety and finesse that it feels incredibly natural and organic.

“Back Then” is Whitney’s version of a buoyant house track, with its softly pulsating beat and strobe-like pianos, celebrating that they “found a way to live while the world was burning”. “Blue”, “Real Love” and “Never Crossed My Mind” skip along on electronic hip-hop beats as bells and guitars shimmer and slide around. Then there’s moments of heart-panging drum-less magic that arise throughout: “Twirl” drifts along dreamily, strings swelling and vibrating around plinky pianos; “Self” is a mix of looped sepia-tinged strings and gentle acoustic guitar, adding proper ache to Ehrlich’s question of “where does my heart belong?”; and “Terminal” has a hymn-like quality to it, with its warm brass and what sound like warped church bells, Ehrlich coming to pained realisations like “I don’t know if life comes back around so I have to say goodbye”.

Spark is testament to what can happen when you take the time to recalibrate and move forward into the next phase of your life, while honouring that what’s come before will always be an important part of you. Kakacek and Ehrlich have a special thing going as Whitney, and they’ve now made it even more special.

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