As intimate as indie/folk gets, with regret and longing served up in healthy portions.
Hushed. That’s the word. Harrison Whitford is a ‘hushed’ contemporary folkie. An eerie, slightly unnerving, equally wistful vibe pervades this second album. He has a ‘day job’, playing guitar for LA’s indie/Americana heavy hitter Phoebe Bridgers, and his dad just happens to be Brad Whtiford of Aerosmith! That’s some ‘rawk’ pedigree. But there’s no arena pulverising sounds here, the band sound like it was recorded in a stationery cupboard, keeping the noise down so as not to disturb the adjacent office workers
Whitford is arguably not really a folkie – maybe a little more indie, a little bit of hushed guitar pop. However, that’s kind of missing the point. What we have here is an engaging, maybe slightly quirky, but very rewarding record. Worth a listen for sure.
‘Salvation Army’ is the album’s second track, but the first song as such. As an opening blast, it’s a sad, stark tale of regret, entirely devoid of pomp. ‘Anyplace I Am’ follows, and it’s a little more content with it’s inevitability, with an spectral slide guitar quietly moaning it’s melody. ‘Linoleum’ brings a melody sweeter still, where a fuzz guitar and swooping organ blend together. Of course, for Whitford, it’s a bittersweet situation once again.
There’s no standout tracks here. There’s no filler either. It’s a rolling, flowing vibe of fractured emotions. Whitford is never brash or strident in his expression (which, given his pedigree in rock overticism (is that a real word?) is a natural antithesis. In ‘I Don’t Know’ you can sense a little of fellow New Englander Evan Dando, at his most reflective, gently nudging along the vibe. He covers Neil Young’s ‘Helpless”’with consummate ease, the mood of the song fitting perfectly with Whtiford’s own reflective, ever-longing motif.
It’s somewhat a crowded marketplace, that of the introspective indie/folky singer-songwriter. Harrison Whitford’s record may ultimately get lost in the crowd, but it deserves better.