Release Date: August 28, 2012
Six Shooter Records; 12 Tracks
Review by: Lee Fraser
A full-length release by Whitehorse kicks off Six Shooter’s autumn of awesome.
Six Shooter records has slowly but surely been signing on a stable of extremely talented artists. With four of them releasing albums this fall, Six Shooter has dubbed it their “Autumn of Awesome”. While releases from Amelia Curran, Jenn Grant and Danny Michel wait in their stalls, the first release of the fall is a beautifully packaged compilation of treats by husband-wife duo Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucet, recently taking on the band moniker Whitehorse.
One year after their self-titled debut, the couple have released 12 new tracks on The Fate of the World Depends on This Kiss. On this album, not only do we get more of Melissa’s angelic vocals and Luke’s insanely skilled guitar work, but we’re treated to a variety of soundscapes accompanied by a broad range of emotional and story-telling lyrics.
From simple acoustic/electric/bass/drum ditties to looped pots and pans accompanied by synthesizers, the album demonstrates this duo’s ability to create a vast array of moods and song structures. The album opens with “Achilles' Desire”, a song that announces the impressiveness of the two with swagger. “Jane” is a track that Whitehorse wrote and recorded with the Edmonton electronica group Shout Out Out Out Out; the verses are tinged with country but the choruses are reminiscent of 80’s Brit-pop.
While the album is chock full of catchy tunes to get your feet stomping, the last track on the album is a languid, dreamy song. Some would argue that playing an incredibly slow tempo is more challenging than a frantic pace, and seeing this song performed live will be a good judgement. Melissa and Luke play guitar and sing as though they are performing in the most oppressive heat imaginable and every movement, every breath is an extreme effort. To borrow one of the lyrics from this song, it is “frighteningly beautiful”.
This album is a masterpiece lyrically, as well. There is so much to discover and relish on this album. “Peterbilt Coalmine” is a song of reflection with gems like “Is my rock and roll nerve I spent just a flaming heart on an old man’s arm?” There are songs featuring social commentary, songs of adventure and whimsy and a song masquerading as a family-friendly country tune that has steamy lyrics like “please put your body in my bed, and your pretty little head. Whisper me things you never dared, I can take you there.”
If you loved the singles that were released from their EP last year (“Emerald Isle”, “Passenger 24”), this album is sure to be one of your favourites of the fall. You can check out Whitehorse next spring when dreams comes true and they headline Massey Hall on March 2, 2013. More Six Shooter goodies will be unveiled in the meantime.