Best Vancouver albums of 2016: Whitney K – ‘Goodnight’ (Maple Death Records)

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On Whitney K’s debut record, Goodnight, he refines the broken cowboy blues and outsider folk he began experimenting with on his previous Mixtape and Pony EP. Goodnight’s cover art mimics classic country records with a scratchy black and white seated portrait of the performer. However, Whitney’s face is pasted over that of a cowboy’s like a Sleeveface entry.

Musically, think Beck’s low-fidelity mutations of country on One Foot in the Grave: wilted vocals croon over distortion and feedback that sound like they’re blowing through a weathered transistor radio. Whitney’s hollow voice lingers like an apparition on “when yor blue” and even more so on “running up that hill”. Compared to the rest of the album, the skeletal “ode to the old ways”, the title of which could quite accurately describe Goodnight, is loaded: harmonica, roughly recorded vocals, guitar vamps, and tambourines collide in a ramshackle pile reminiscent of the Velvet Underground’s “Heroin”.

Whitney K has traced some well-trodden musical paths on Goodnight, but in doing so, he has taken bold steps towards perfecting the styles in which he’s recently been entrenched.

Standout track – “ode to the old ways”

See the rest of my picks at Vancouver Weekly.

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