‘SPARK’ is Whitney’s third studio album, following their 2019 sophomore effort ‘Forever Turned Around’ and has proved to be something of a reinvention for the Chicago duo.
In life, art, love and music, it only takes one spark to create something truly wonderful and this certainly rings true on an album which is served sunny-side up. The group – helmed by Julien Ehlrich and Max Kakacekhave – have ventured a long way from their indie-folk beginnings and have taken somewhat of a shift both sonically and personally.
‘SPARK’ is a fizzy fusion of folk, lo-fi and electronic elements with an abundance of synth-kissed disco-esque grooves, effortless falsetto hooks and luxuriant electronic beats that captivate and uplift in equal measure.
This is a record that scintillates and is quite the departure from 2016’s lovelorn ‘Light Upon The Lake’. ‘SPARK’ is all about getting your mojo back in all aspects of your life, no less so than in matters of l’amour. Maybe it’s the drum loops that are beyond buoyant or the coruscant keys? This is a decidedly more rambunctious and yet a more polished offering both lyrically and in its production values.
There’s references to fire and smoke throughout the 12 songs; from a flicker of inspiring something new or burning down the old for a phoenix to rise from the flame. Indeed, it feels that there’s a real fire in their belly with regards to overcoming life’s troubles with a sunny and optimistic outlook and the importance of opening up their hearts once again as better times are ahead.
It’s an inspiring testament to perseverance, renewal and of course hope and heralds a new era for Whitney’s sound. Throughout the album you can hear influences from a myriad of eras from the Zombies in the 60s to early 00s pure pop.
‘NOTHING REMAINS’ is a Tame Impala-esque rousing introduction to this new aural adventure from Whitney and ponders how people persevere and navigate through heartache. ‘TWIRL’ is a lush and glorious track that evolves into an almost-orchestral finish from a sunkissed-synth laden unabashed pop song. There are lessons in every track; from ‘BACK THEN’ which is all about learning to love again and the importance of human connection with sumptuous lines like ‘‘how blue skies don’t feel so wrong’
‘SPARK’ reinvents Whitney as a contemporary syndicate of classic pop and their third album is an impressive, bold and contagious body of work that is more candid, emotional and contemplative than ever before.
Words: Emma Harrison