Whitney Announce New Album ‘Spark’

Whitney announce new album Spark. The Chicago duo's album drops on September 16, via Secretly Canadian and DSPs
Whitney announce new album Spark. The Chicago duo's album drops on September 16, via Secretly Canadian

Whitney, is the Chicago duo of Julien Ehlrich and Max Kakacek, Today they have announced their new full-length Spark, will drop on September 16th via Secretly Canadian. Along with the news, the duo have shared the album’s lead single/video, “Real Love.” The band also announces a North American tour, on sale June 17.

Spark traces back to the surprise success of Whitney’s 2016 debut, Light Upon the Lake. Its softly distorted psych-folk dreams found a wide audience more readily than the pair ever expected; after years of ceaseless touring, they felt compelled to plug into the same sound for round two, 2019’s Forever Turned Around.

Max and Julien knew a drastic change was necessary, but they never envisioned, of course, international lockdowns would facilitate it. Weeks after Julien decamped to Portland to clear his head after the end of a years-long relationship, Max followed, hoping to escape the tail of a long Chicago winter with his best friend and co-writer. Four days later, flights were grounded. Upcoming tours were canceled. For the next 14 months, they dug in with a zeal and determination that recalled their start, before success set expectations. “We had time to just sit and watch the body of work grow in real time,” Julien says. “We were just stacking stronger and stronger songs on top of each other.” Max picks up his thought: “Our favorite way to make records, the way we made the first one.”

Max and Julien weren’t immune to this moment of overwhelming loss, either. Max lost his grandfather to COVID-19 in December 2020, soon after the duo’s mutual mentor, Girls’ JR White, died. But the key to SPARK—even on these saddest of songs, all of which sparkle like gentle technicolor dreams—is sublimation, or Whitney’s ability to hang around long enough for conditions to improve. To wit, the first song Max and Julien wrote upon returning to Chicago in May 2021—and the last one they finished before heading to Texas to cut Spark with producers Brad Cook and John Congleton—is “REAL LOVE,” which celebrates the overdue end of one relationship as an opportunity to fall completely for the right someone. From its Wurlitzer chime to its serrated bass, from its beaming harmonies to its massive chorus, “REAL LOVE” is a bright-eyed celebration of what will be, not a eulogy for what was. It feels, as with much of SPARK, like twirling in whatever sunbeam happens to peak through the clouds. The video, directed by Aaron Brown, is an entirely different visual presentation than anything the band’s ever released.

Julien elaborates: “Max and I wrote ‘REAL LOVE’ in June 2021 right after a cross country move back to Chicago. I was experiencing heightened levels of anxiety and panic, while the entire city was re-emerging from isolation. I’ve been running away from and self medicating my anxiety for as long as I can remember, but for whatever reason, it felt like it was time to dive straight into it. During late night sessions over a two week period, we captured the embrace of anxiety and fear in a way that resonated with us immediately. We spent the next few summer nights driving on Ashland with the windows down and the song turned up. It felt like an emotional and musical burst of light and we’re so grateful to finally be sharing that with people.”

Whitney
Spark
Tracklist

1. NOTHING REMAINS
2. BACK THEN
3. BLUE
4. TWIRL
5. REAL LOVE
6. MEMORY
7. SELF
8. NEVER CROSSED MY MIND
9. TERMINAL
10. HEART WILL BEAT
11. LOST CONTROL
12. COUNTY LINES

Whitney Tour Dates:

Thu. Sep. 29 – Davenport, IA @ Raccoon Motel
Fri. Sep. 30 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Ave
Sat. Oct. 1 – Milwaukee, WI @ Pabst Theater
Mon. Oct. 3 – Fort Collins, CO @ The Aggie
Tue. Oct. 4 – Denver, CO @ Gothic Theatre
Wed. Oct. 5 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater
Fri. Oct. 7 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Jones Assembly
Sat. Oct. 8 – Columbia, MO @ Blue Note
Sun. Oct. 9 – St Louis, MO @ Delmar Hall
Tue. Oct. 11 – Oxford, MS @ The Lyric
Wed. Oct. 12 – Birmingham, AL @ Saturn
Fri. Oct. 14 – Miami, FL @ Miami Beach Bandshell
Sat. Oct. 15 – Tampa, FL @ The Orpheum
Mon. Oct. 17 – Orlando, FL @ House of Blues
Wed. Oct. 19 – Jacksonville, FL @ Intuition Ale Works
Thu. Oct. 20 – Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse
Sat. Oct. 22 – Athens, GA @ Georgia Theatre
Sun. Oct. 23 – Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel
Mon. Oct. 24 – Charleston, SC @ Music Farm
Tue. Oct. 25 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
Wed. Oct. 26 – Charlottesville, VA @ Jefferson Theater
Fri. Oct. 28 – Nashville, TN @ Eastside Bowl
Sun. Oct. 30 – Indianapolis, IN @ The Vogue
Sun. Nov. 6 – Paris, FR @ Trabendo
Tue. Nov. 8 – Antwerp, BE @ De Roma
Wed. Nov. 9 – Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso
Thu. Nov. 10 – Cologne, DE @ Bürgerhaus Stollwerck
Fri. Nov. 11 – Munich, DE @ Freiheizhalle
Sat. Nov. 12 – Zurich, CH @ Mascotte
Sun. Nov. 13 – Berlin, DE @ Columbia Theater
Tue. Nov. 15 – Hamburg, DE @ Mojo Club
Wed. Nov. 16 – Copenhagen, DK @ VEGA
Thu. Nov. 17 – Oslo, NO @ Rockefeller
Fri. Nov. 18 – Stockholm, SE @ Nalen
Sat. Nov. 19 – Gothenburg, SE @ Pustervik
Sun. Nov. 20 – Aarhus, DK @ Voxhall
Tue. Nov. 22 – Bristol, UK @SWX
Wed. Nov. 23 – London, UK @ O2 Academy Brixton
Thu. Nov. 24 – Manchester, UK @ Albert Hall
Fri. Nov. 25 – Glasgow, UK @ QMU
Sun. Nov. 27 – Dublin, IE @ The Academy
Thu. Dec. 8 – Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall
Fri. Dec. 9 – Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore Silver Spring
Sat. Dec. 10 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
Sun. Dec. 11 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall
Wed. Dec. 14 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Spirit
Thu. Dec. 15 – Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Theatre
Fri. Dec. 16 – Detroit, MI @ The Crofoot
Wed. Dec. 21 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall
Thu. Dec. 22 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall
Fri. Dec. 23 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall