Light Upon the Lake, Whitney’s 2016 debut on the Secretly Canadian imprint, is full of gentle rock bops and the intertwining of Ehrlich’s singular falsetto with Kakacek’s sunshine-infused guitar lines. “The album is a transitional record,” Ehrlich told Westword before the 2016 Underground Music Showcase in Denver. It’s about removing yourself, gazing, reflecting on “lost romance, lost band...lost moments.” But through this loss, the musicians found Whitney, fully formed and better than anything they did before.
Whitney rose from the still-smoldering embers of two other bands. The duo is composed of drummer/singer Julian Ehrlich, formerly of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and guitarist Max Kakacek of Smith Westerns. The pair joined forces in Chicago and created a new warm-weather sound that combines Laurel Canyon earnestness with Steely Dan dynamism.