Whitehorse: A Simple Equation Fully Realized, Plus Another Mike + Ruthy Band Premiere
Whitehorse has established itself in the USA and Canada as a band to watch. It’s a marriage made in musical heaven. Each of its members, Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland, have had lengthy solo careers and storied musical histories. Together, as Whitehorse, they blend their talents to reach new heights of sonic synergy.
Formed in 2010, the two toured in each other’s bands for years, but they put aside their award-winning individual careers to build a new band out of their exceptional guitar playing, his-and-hers harmonies, and a flair for dramatic, narrative songwriting. Whitehorse has no drummer, no keyboard player, violinist, or even bass player on call, yet Doucet and McClelland demonstrate the success of this simple equation: one plus one, with an abundance of guitar-slinging, songwriting expertise, and white-hot desire.
But with such a simple equation, their live shows can be anything but simple. McClelland and Doucet present a full band sound using live loops, bits and pieces percussion, and swapping guitars left, right, and center on stage. The edge-of-the-ledge effect of their earliest shows have transformed into a nimble ballet of moving instruments, layers of percussion, voice, and keys, all layered upon each other.
McClelland and Doucet play to one another’s strengths, pairing her pure vocals against his smoking guitar virtuosity. Their talents meld seamlessly into bluesy, surf-tinged, and rockabilly-rinsed tracks that are equal parts melody and atmosphere. Their performances are truly a celebration of the complementary talents which Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland have honed in their separate careers. And this week’s video collection is packed with all of this.
And, speaking of husband-and-wife duos, I have another Mike + Ruthy Band premiere, from their album Bright As You Can. Check out “Cigarette” at the end of the slide show.