23rd November 2016


The Cluny


Julia Jacklin, it will soon become clear, is the perfect opener for Whitney. Her music is warm and enjoyable, with hard-hitting lyrics which are disguised by a catchy riff. Her creamy voice melts the crowd and adequately whets the appetite for the main event.

As the sextet of instrumental array take to the stage, you get the sense of the intimate yet tight professional gig this is about to be. There's a quiet confidence about Whitney. With two of the members (Julien Ehrlich and Max Kakacek) having previously been part of the Smith Westerns, and Ehrlich also drumming for Unknown Mortal Orchestra, they aren't your typical indie band- this is but an experiment, a side project for their creative talent. And talent is right. Their sound is crisp and refreshing. You get a sense that- bar the two main members- this is a band under construction, in their trialling stage.  This doesn’t devalue the quality of their work, however; subtle hints at their confidence such as the band’s cheeky smirk as they pause for applause at the end of ‘Polly’ give them away.

Singer and drummer Ehrlich spearheads Whitney and draws you into his melancholic but peaceful world, all the while hiding underneath his hood throughout the gig. Despite a majorly supportive crowd, one gig-goer is overly enthusiastic, veering upon parody at the front of the room, causing Whitney to visibly recoil further into themselves.

Their endearing introversion is what makes this band so interesting, though. With each song comes a different set of soulful, dulcet tones, any of which are generically kitsch enough to soundtrack your favourite indie film, yet somehow manage to retain their alluring uniqueness. Their ‘sound’ is as delicate as their flower logo indicates- as one YouTube commenter said, they thought they'd fallen in love with a female vocalist named Whitney until they saw a video of the band playing live. Inter-song chat doesn’t veer away from this sensitive vibe as fans are treated to more detailed song explanations (‘Follow’ is about the death of Ehrlich’s Grandfather, while ‘On My Road’ was described as a reggae song about love).

Whitney explain that the sell-out of tonight’s show means that their whole UK tour stretch is now sold out; their jazz-infused, soothing pop is only growing more popular by the day.

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