Whitney, the Chicago duo of Julien Ehlrich and Max Kakacek, release two new singles/videos, “TWIRL” and “BLUE,” from their forthcoming album, SPARK, out September 16th on Secretly Canadian. The key to SPARK—even on these saddest of songs, all of which sparkle like gentle technicolor dreams—is sublimation, or Whitney’s ability to hang around long enough for conditions to improve. The drum-less “TWIRL” is a gorgeous note-to-self about finding new dreams and holding them close, even as the world seems to wobble on its axis. “With ‘TWIRL,’ John Congleton and Brad Cook really created the framework for us to explore a new palette,” says the band. “What started as a simple love song grew into a wider take on human connection that we feel lucky to have made.”
Foiling “TWIRL,” “BLUE” is sweet with light-stepping guitar, flourishes of keys, strings and saxophone, and Julien’s pleading voice: “The sun’s hovering over concrete // Lately you’re the only reason my heart beats // All I want is to be your only.” Whitney elaborates: “We wrote ‘BLUE’ at what I would now call ‘peak isolation’ in the beginning of 2021. In hindsight it’s clear that we were attempting to manifest a different set of circumstances through the fantasy of love.”
SPARK reintroduces Whitney as a contemporary syndicate of classic pop, its dozen imaginative and endearing tracks wrap fetching melodies around paisley-print Dilla beats and luxuriant electronics. It’s an honest accounting of how it feels when you move out of your past and into your present, when you take the next steps of your lives and careers at once and without apology. SPARK maintains the warmth and ease of Whitney’s early work; these songs glow with the newness of now.
Recently, Whitney made their Jimmy Kimmel Live! debut, where they gave a “trance-like and dreamy” (Uproxx) performance of previously-released single “REAL LOVE.” This appearance gives a taste of what one can expect on their North American tour, which kicks off this September. A full list of dates can be found below and tickets for all dates are on sale now.