KUMD Album Review: Forever Turned Around
Whitney - Forever Turned Around
Forever Turned Around is the second release by indie-folk rock band, Whitney. With their first release, Light Upon the Lake, the band captured quite a buzz with their blend of soft falsetto vocals, impressive and consistent guitar performance, and driving upbeat rhythms. With their second impression, the Chicago-based band delivers a performance that may prove decisive. Depending on the listener’s preferences, this could be a welcoming return, or a cause for frustration.
From the beginning, this album sounds spotless. With their return, the band re-establishes their ability to compose, perform, and even mix a satisfying track. In one of the album’s highlights, “Giving Up”, the perfection of the percussion section is on full display. As the crisp snare winds with the hi hat and tambourine, the chorus is opened up to synthesizer and vocals in the first chorus. They manage to intertwine just perfectly to complement without overstepping each other. The second time around, the synth is overtaken by a soft and sweet trumpet solo. After they have done their part, they are replaced by a subtle string section accompaniment, which slowly coaxes the listener into the next track. As an album opener, this performance shows the versatility, virtuosity, and taste that Whitney is capable of.
The one thing that some may say detracts from this album could also be the band’s most distinct asset: the lead singer of Whitney, Cullen Omori, has a unique vocal delivery. He has a great ear for pitch and harmony, but his voice may not be the favorite of every listener. On one hand it is very soft and soothing; on the other, it sounds almost comically falsetto, lacking any crisp attack or the grit of many singers. If your preferences tend towards Johnny Cash, Otis Redding, Avett Brothers, or Tallest Man on Earth, Cullen Omori’s voice may lull you to sleep. However, if Jose Gonzalez, Daniel Caesar, Nick Drake, or Chromatics are more preferred,, one may find his voice to be more their taste. Every album is subjective, being judged through the filter of the listener’s ears, so what entices one may bore the other.
All that aside, Whitney provides a short and sweet effort, combining the crisp drum tone, string/horn accompaniment, and improvisational style of cool jazz, with the idyllic sensibilities of american folk and a dash of indie rock electric guitar. Whether a previous fan who was awaiting their return, or a newcomer, this album has appeal for almost anyone. At just thirty two minutes long, it is fun, concise and digestible, which may mean high replay value for many indie rock fans.
Try this album if you like: Jose Gonzalez, Durand Jones & the Indications, Cigarettes After Sex,