Spin - "These songs resonated via Whitney's self-described 'country-soul' sound, blending their themes beautifully and suggesting that heartbreak, disappointment, alienation, and yearning don't resolve; they merely settle, like, well, light upon a lake."
NME (Magazine) - "All 10 tracks on `Light Upon The Lake' share a serene, peaceful bond, with Ehrlich's startling falsetto bringing to mind Bobby Charles and Shuggie Otis, two genial artists whose personalities have always shone through on their records."
Photographer: Sandy Kim.
Light Upon the Lake is the moseying debut album of Whitney, a septet built around the core songwriting team of Julien Ehrlich and Max Kakacek, both formerly of Smith Westerns. Often surprisingly intimate for a seven-piece, the group makes subtle use of instrumentation like brass and strings to flesh out without symphonizing their country-tinged indie pop. The melancholy opener, "No Woman," begins with cushiony keyboards and a short brass fanfare before Ehrlich -- who doubles as the band's lead singer and drummer -- introduces his misty, double-tracked falsetto. He appears alongside strummed acoustic guitar with lyrics like "I've been going through a change/I might never be sure/I'm just walking in a haze." A melodic electric-guitar cadence and atmospheric strings contribute to a mostly instrumental chorus that seems to leave the storyteller alone to regroup. Later, the title track also makes use of elegant guitar lines and those double-tracked vocals for a brisker but still affecting, angst-ridden query. Other more uptempo songs come with livelier arrangements and brighter dispositions, such as the appropriately summery "Golden Days" and the twangy, heartening "No Matter Where We Go." The album wades into jam band territory on occasion, but for the most part hovers between a singer/songwriter-friendly indie rock club and somewhere on the dial of '70s AM radio. It proves a pretty comforting place to be. Including Light Upon the Lake's one jaunty instrumental ("Red Moon"), the 30-minute set of ten tunes will leave many wanting more, an auspicious trait for an otherwise satisfying debut. ~ Marcy Donelson