Married Folk Rock
This isn’t the first time Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland have worked together. Both being musically-inclined individuals from the same area in Canada, they’ve collaborated since the early 2000s, and Doucet has produced records for both McClelland’s former band and her solo work. To top it off, the two got hitched in 2006, and in 2011 went on to form Whitehorse, a folk-rock band named after a remote town in Yukon. The band’s sophomore album and first full-length record, The Fate of the World Depends on this Kiss, was written entirely by the two of them and produced by Doucet himself with the help of former bandmate Nik Kozub. Several other musicians appear on the album as well, helping out with instrumentals.
The most obvious stand-out of This Kiss is how outstanding the voices of Doucet and McClelland sound together. All of the vocals are smooth and full. The chorus in the ballad “Annie Lu,” for instance, sounds like their voices are sewn together tightly and is a perfect combination of McClelland’s high pitch and Doucet’s lower-pitched, melancholy voice.
Several songs are soft and sweet and acoustic-heavy, such as “Mismatched Eyes (Boat Song),” which also features a little bit of distorted electric guitar at the end, and “Wisconsin,” which eventually builds up into a denser sound but never gets really heavy. Much of the album contains a slight country twang. Opener “Achilles’ Desire” displays this right off the bat, and it keeps right on all the way to the closing song “Mexico Texaco,” a quiet song about a man longing to run away to Mexico with his girl.
All in all, Whitehorse’s The Fate of the World Depends on this Kiss is an intriguing piece of work. This unique and experimental-sounding album shows the two clearly have a lot of chemistry and experience working together.