by Rob Powell
Whitemoor teased fans with two sensational new singles in advance of the release of this follow-up to their self-titled debut album. Highlights and All I’ve Ever Known were two quite different tracks, both which leave your ears salivating with maximum slobber to hear the entirety of Horizons. The record certainly doesn’t disappoint. If anything, it smashes all hopes and expectations that the hugely promising debut left in its wake. This is a band who knows their direction and Horizons cements this all the more.
Indie rock at its utmost best but there is no pigeon-holing Whitemoor into just this category. The sounds on this album reveal them to be a heavily layered onion-like entity. Tracks like Horoscopes are a pure dreamy delight. The music creates a world you just cannot escape after opening track Highlights has already grabbed you firmly in its clutches. On Top Of The World has an elevating musical intro that throws you up in the air, catches you by the legs only to soar you back up into the atmosphere. No restraints. Crash helmets are an advisory. This song is perfect for mainstream radio play and I can already hear it being hummed by even the most casual listener. A summer hit! I love how it embraces an almost dance-like kind of vibe too, demonstrating the dimensionality of the band. They are experimenting and progressing with the sounds they can make come together, with some astounding results.
It is evident how each member is fundamentally crucial in what they bring to each track. While there is some exquisite guitar work on Embers which smashes right through everything, it still manages never to overshadow the cumulative contributions from bass, synth and drums. Everything always combines so perfectly. The ‘too many cooks’ proverb just doesn’t apply here. It’s like fate drew these people together to play as one.
Benny’s vocals are strong and resonant throughout but with the likes of Horoscopes, My Philosophy and Don’t Hold Me Down, he displays a haunting vulnerability so powerful it is moving. In fact if you feel the earth shake it’s probably the Himalayas being moved a few feet. He uses his voice as an instrument with some remarkable results. Closing with This Is seems to me very appropriate. It would make sense to add the word different after it. It is a much calmer and slower song than any of the others on the album and sounds like Whitemoor completely stripped back. It is delicious! Things do start kicking off about two and a half minutes in but they keep being strategically reined in. It is sublime and just a brilliant way to leave fans ravenous for more.
With their stunning debut record, Whitemoor showed they meant business. They have returned to show they are the Lord Sugars of a cutting edge progressive indie rock sound. They know exactly what they are about and what they are doing. There’s not an i left to dot nor a t left to cross but the evidence proves this won’t stop them progressing even further with their next project. This is what REAL music is about. Five musicians and creative souls coming together to cook up the kind of tasty banquet Horizons is. I’ll have seconds and thirds now please.