Hands up if you stopped holding your breath and started despairing for Whitley’s new album a long time ago?
Okay, hands down and don’t worry. Our 28-year-old Melbourne boy didn’t abandon us. Life’s thrown a lot at Lawrence Greenwood in the past four years and from the sounds of the more mature and darker Even the Stars are a Mess, he’s thrown it all into this album.
Right from the outset with tracks like ‘The Ballad of Terrence McKenna’ and ‘TV’ you can hear a distinct darkness to the album that contrasts with earlier, up-tempo works like ‘Lost In Time’ or ‘Poison in our Pockets.’ As always, Whitley layers his tracks with multiple beautiful melodies, and is generous with the guitar, but by the time I get to my favourite track of the album – lead single ‘My Heart Is Not A Machine’ – I think I can put my finger on what’s changed…
Heartache. Yes, you’re thinking I’m a big girl’s blouse for saying it, but the entire album is characterised by it and knowing that recording this album was an uphill battle across Mexico, the UK, Peru, Italy and Australia, it starts to make sense.
Make sure you take some time to pause on the ethereal ‘Roadside’ and ‘OK’ – you may have an out of body experience but don’t be alarmed, this is just one of those albums, up there with Athlete’s Tourist or Keane’s Crystal Ball.
Star rating: 4 out of 5
Here is the album’s lead single (and favourite track) ‘My Heart Is Not A Machine’: