Whitelands have been on our radar for a while. A group whose early shows included an attachment to DIY Space For London – a crucial underground hub in the city – they’ve evolved into something potent, subtle, and extremely beautiful.
Taking their name from a space at Roehampton Uni that housed one of their first shows, Whitelands have been drawn into the orbit of Sonic Cathedral, a key voice in platforming shoegaze (and related) sounds.
Often viewed as a predominantly white genre, Whitelands in their very make-up offer a different perspective, linking back to Black innovators such as AR Kane. Guitarist Etienne comments:
“A few years back a review site called our music ‘soul-gaze’, it was a cool term for us, and the writer talked about how much we reminded him of The Veldt.”
“Discovering those bands was such a trip to me. I assumed there wouldn’t be that many Black bands as, even now, it is a predominantly white genre, but having someone like Rudy Tambala [AR Kane] just on the other side of London from us feels so bizarre in a good way.”
New single ‘Born In Understanding’ is their first on Sonic Cathedral, and it seems to lift Whitelands to a fresh level. Sonically gorgeous – you can hear everyone from Slowdive to Explosions In The Sky hurtling around their audio nexus – the songwriting is crisp and defined.
“The song is one of longing and acceptance at the same time,” explains Etienne. “It’s a weird song for me because it’s kind of one that wrote itself.
He adds: “It was originally written back in 2020, but I forgot about it because I wasn’t sure how to write the bridge. I managed to get it done two years later which is very relevant, as a big part of the song is about patience, just waiting until the right moment hits, the feelings around the vulnerability of being perceived.”
A superb piece of widescreen musicality, ‘Born In Understanding’ is well worth immersing yourself in.