by Elisabeth Kaseda
This comment on The Whits‘ newest YouTube video says it all. Lead singer and songwriter Amy Whitcomb has the most amazing voice I have ever heard, and as a music fan, I’ve heard many voices. I was hooked on this band when I first heard them play at the Invitational Songwriters Showcase at BYU this year, and have been following them ever since. Most recently, they were part of a competition to play in front of 60,000 people at the Stadium of Fire. I was fortunate enough to go to the Top 25 concert on Friday and the Top 10 concert on Saturday. After several minutes of holding my breath with anticipation, it was announced that The Whits had been selected as one of the three acts to perform at Stadium of Fire! Once my heart had stopped pounding, I resolved to get this review written. I’d been meaning to write one for a while, but after this, how could I not?
Heartbreak Marathon – EP is one of the most played albums that I own. Amy’s amazing vocals are backed by an extremely talented group of musicians: Todd Schwartzman on keyboard, Stephen Newman on guitar, Mike McClellan on bass, and Robbie McGuire on drums. The group really works well together, and the energy between performers is great. The EP contains five songs that really showcase the band’s talent and a variety of styles, while still maintaining the group’s unique sound.
The opening track, “Give Me Back My Heart”, opens the EP with a bang. It’s hard to listen to this track without at least tapping your foot (or, in my case, nearly headbanging). I love the lyrics on this one, and it does a good job showcasing Amy’s vocal talent. As with all of the songs on this album, it has a story that many of us as people can relate to, which is part of what makes The Whits’ music so enticing. It’s always fun to be able to belt out a song when you’re feeling upset, and this EP is full of fun belting tunes.
The party continues with “Hard to Be Loved By You”, a great number with a swing rhythm. I especially love the descending chromatic melody in the chorus. The music really lightens up on the bridge before launching into a final rocking chorus, ending the song with a bang.
It’s always good to have a softer number amid lots of rock, and the next track, “The Fall”, provides this release. This ballad shows that not only can Amy sing out, she can also carry a gorgeous melodic line. The beautiful vocal harmonies and the soaring guitar solo make this song one of my favorites to listen to.
We resume the upbeat tracks with “Looks Can Kill”. The title of the EP (Heartbreak Marathon) comes from the bridge of this song, and I love how original the lyrics are. However, the rhyme scheme is what I really love about this song. (Want to hear what I mean? You can download this track for free at The Whits’ new band page. Just click ‘download’ underneath the song on the music player!)
“Finally a Woman”, the final track, is what Amy likes to call the band’s anthem, despite 80% of the band being male. It’s a great song with the same emotion that makes me like this band so much. Amy wanted to model this song after Aretha Franklin’s music, and this soulful song really fits the bill. I especially love the backup vocals on this track; the harmonies really add some energy and rhythm.
If this wasn’t enough to get you interested in one of my favorite local bands, you’re just going to have to take a listen yourself. Check out The Whits on their webpage, Facebook, Twitter, ReverbNation, YouTube, and iTunes. If you happen to be in Provo on July 2, I highly recommend getting tickets to see them play at Stadium of Fire. I’ll be the one cheering really loudly.