Friday, September 07, 2012

Whitehorse: "The Fate of the World Depends On This Kiss" (album review)

On their own Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland are two strong songwriters.  Together as Whitehorse, the husband and wife duo are one of the most compelling and exciting bands around.  Recently they released their debut full length The Fate of the World Depends On This Kiss.

The record is a collection of twelve richly textured tracks, all built on a solid foundation of roots music.  The pair have an obvious chemistry that helps make the song immediately warm and welcoming.  That often manifests in an effortless back-and-forth, as on the lovely mellow "Mismatched Eyes (Boat Song)".

The opener "Achilles' Desire" is methodical with an ominous ghost town feel; you can almost hear the tumbleweed.  "Devil's Got a Gun" is a sinister folk pop number.

While the record never completely gives itself over to the rock n' roll, there are some more freewheeling moments.  "Peterbilt Coalmine" is a lurching road romp.  The aptly-named "No Glamour In the Hammer" pounds out a precise rhythm.

On the surface it would seem like an odd choice to add a drum machine to "Jane".  The result though, is a bluesy rocker with a Kills-esque feel to it.

The album does have a tendency to plod at points.  Despite a beautiful vocal performance from McClelland, "Cold July" is a listless number.  The closer "Mexico Texaco" smolders but never truly catches fire.

Though it may be a few tracks too long, The Fate of the World Depends On This Kiss is just the kind of debut we hoped for from this talented couple.

Best tracks: "Devil's Got a Gun", "Peterbilt Coalmine"

Track listing for The Fate of the World Depends On This Kiss:
  • Achilles' Desire
  • Devil's Got a Gun
  • Mismatched Eyes (Boat Song)
  • Peterbilt Coalmine
  • Cold July
  • Jane
  • Out Like a Lion
  • No Glamour In the Hammer
  • Radiator Blues
  • Annie Liu
  • Wisconsin
  • Mexico Texaco

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