Album Review: Whitehorse, ‘Leave No Bridge Unburned’
Whitehorse -- the husband and wife duo of Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland -- are no strangers to creating their own distinctive brand of music, as evidenced throughout the two albums and two EPs they've released since their inception in 2011.
With their third full-length, No Bridge Unburned, they've created 11 polished tracks that transcend any arbitrary genre names people like me tend to toss out; while it's hard to pin down the sound of the duo's new songs, it's easy to recognize and proselytize the impact they have.
The record -- funded through Kickstarter and receiving nearly three times the initial goal of $10,000 -- found Whitehorse bringing in a producer to take the helm, the first time they did so in their career. This no doubt created a new environment for them to record in, potentially affording Doucet and McClelland more freedom than they've ever had.
That newfound independence is on display throughout the album, from opening track "Baby What's Wrong" -- featuring a gnarled guitar riff and instantly gorgeous harmonies -- to closer "The Walls Have Drunken Ears" -- a track that hearkens the great alt-country sounds of Uncle Tupelo and early Ryan Adams.
Those two songs, however, are far from representative of the album. In fact, it may be impossible to pull just one track out of the mix and say, "Yes, this song is Leave No Bridge Unburned."
Not surprisingly, those differentiating factors in each song -- the TV commercial quality indie pop of "Downtown" versus the beautifully haunting melody of "Dear Irony," for example -- actually work together to create one cohesive album, a disc that, by all means, should be consumed front to back in a single sitting.
Before the recording process was even started, the band shared on their Kickstarter page these hopeful sentiments: "We're going to make the best album we can make ... what will it sound like? We don't know!"
With Leave No Bridge Unburned out this week (Feb. 17), we now know what it sounds like, and we think it's safe to say it is the best record Whitehorse could have made; with the stride they've hit on this one, we can only imagine what the journey will be like on their next album.