The Whitsundays
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The Whitsundays

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Band Pop Rock

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Music

Press


"Artist of the Day-Spin.com"

Who? Score one more for the Great White North. Edmonton, Alberta quintet the Whitsundays -- Paul Arnusch (vocals/percussion), Dave Swanson (guitar/vocals), Clint Frazier (drums), Lyle Bell (bass/vocals), and Doug Organ (keyboards) -- are busy fellows. The '60s-inspired indie pop ensemble shares members Frazier and Bell with buzz-worthy electro-noisemakers Shout Out Out Out Out, while Arnusch also shares his talents with dream-pop astronauts Faunts and post-punkers the Floor. The band's combined effort, an eponymous debut LP, is due Jan. 22 via Friendly Fire Recordings.

What's the Deal? Combine the sound of late-'60s psychedelic pop with the modern indie air of the Shins and the deliciously smooth milkshake that results is the Whitsundays. Their self-titled LP resurrects the spirit of the Animals and Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys convincingly enough to bring a smile to Brian Wilson's face, and was recorded on main Whit Arnusch's collection of vintage equipment, including guitars, Rhodes and Wurlitzers. Arnusch's whisper voice reigns over subtle, sneaky hooks, murmuring romanticized lyrics throughout. The group even snags the emo vote with raucous romp "Antisocial," an ode to unrequited romance. - Spin.com, Dec 17, 2007


"Rest on The Whitsundays"

I don't often look to press releases for a good description of a band, but in The Whitsundays' case, I'll make an exception. I was in the middle of listening to their self-titled debut -- "Sorry James", if you want to get specific -- and just as I was thinking about how much resemblance it bears to The Who, I happened to glance towards the accompanying one-sheet, which starts off by saying "It could just as easily be 1967."

The comparison works because the album really does sound like a long-lost masterpiece from forty years ago. There are hints of surf guitar (especially in "Falling Over"), lush Beach Boys-tinged vocal harmonies (see "It Must Be Me"), straightforward pop melodies, nods to garage and psychedelic rock, a love of vintage-sounding organs (most evident on "The Ways Of The Sweet-Talking Boys") and, most importantly, a complete lack of pretension or irony about it all. The Whitsundays seem to be genuine in their love for retro-rock, but at the same time never sound as if they're just trying to recreate the music of a long-dead past. In their hands, it sounds alive and well, which in turn makes it easy to fall for them and their music without any reservations. - I (heart) music


"Review"

WHITSUNDAYS The Whitsundays (Friendly Fire/Pop Echo)
With organ-aplenty — check out the solo on "Falling Over" if you want an example — Edmonton's The Whitsundays use a '60s English garage vibe and mix it with plenty of psychedelia to create something that sounds… new. All 10 songs on the debut disc — minus the aggressive punk number "Antisocial" — paint a dreamy pop landscape that's easy to get lost in. "The Ways Of The Sweet Talking Boys" is the standout track, as its catchy organ lines and picture-perfect garage rock attitude could easily describe what the band are about in one song. While drawing their name from the beautiful islands off the coast of Australia, you could easily confuse the decade and country The Whitsundays were born in. Even though it might sound a lot like England in 1967, it's really Canada in 2008, and The Whitsundays have brought back a once-loved sound, made it their own and make you love them as a result. Logan Broger - Chartattack


"Quote from review"

... vocalist/percussionist Paul Arnusch['s] ... most cosmic concoction yet ... [T]he Whitsundays temper their cerebral musings with clearly defined melodies ...

-- Performing Songwriter, March/April 2008 - Performing Songwriter


"College Radio Top Ten Albums - Rolling Stone Magazine"

New Pornographers, look out: These guys are the next big Canadian indie supergroup - or at least as big as indie bands from Canada get. Featuring members from dance punks Shout out out out out and shoegazer combo Faunts, The Whitsundays craft retro psych-pop tunes inspired by the Zombies and The Kinks. - Rolling Stone Magazine


Discography

"The Whitsundays" S/T released Jan 22, 2008
"Saul" released May 4, 2010

Photos

Bio

The Whitsundays are the weird and wonderful musical brainchild of Edmonton, Alberta's Paul Arnusch. The world first heard from them when their compact, catchy pop jewel of a first album came out in 2008, but in the meantime Arnusch's vision has grown and mutated tremendously. This time around his sophomore album Saul, which Arnusch recorded in his own basement over the course of a snowy Canadian winter, is much different. Saul is a pop opus suitable for the rainiest days or the most star-filled nights, a resplendent collection of vintage psychedelia and jangly pop, yet also something much darker and stranger than anything the Whitsundays have done before.

The Whitsundays’ epoynmous debut album, released on Friendly Fire Recordings in early 2008, caught the ear of a lot of people - including Rolling Stone, who called them "the next big Canadian indie supergroup." Fueled by the generous accolades they were receiving and a hefty dollop of willpower, Arnusch (who also plays in dream-pop luminaries Faunts) spent a successful year touring and playing festivals, including VirginFest Calgary, CMJ and Sled Island. For Saul, Arnusch hibernated in his basement, not only taking on the role as writer, performer and producer, but this time isolating himself one step deeper and engineering the album as well. The result is an album that is every bit as catchy as the Whitsundays' first album, but at the same time more personal and revealing - these are still melodic pop songs, but there's something deeper lurking within.

Saul is an emotional dawn-to-dusk carnival of sounds and songs, still holding on to the 60s-hearkening pop sensibilities that defined the debut album. This time around, however, Arnusch has let go of the rollercoaster’s handles and thrown his arms in the air, abandoning the strict song structures of the Whitsundays' debut album for a more visceral and expansive sound. Arnusch manages to combine the harmonic textural elements of the Byrds, in songs like “I Can't Get Off of my Cloud", with the sincerity and distress of Galaxie 500, on “Oh Madeline”. He adds a smashing psychedelic pop hit chorus into "You Fell for It", and then in later tracks references both the strange alien wit of heroic David Bowie and the carefully sculpted noisy reverb of Ariel Pink. Despite these subtle nods, The Whitsundays rule over a kingdom that’s all their own, a place of half-remembered shadows and fresh blood. It’s music that removes the listener from the siege mentality of this decaying world.

Arnusch is not without help - his supporting band, which contains members of another critically-acclaimed Edmonton group called Shout Out Out Out Out, consists of Lyle Bell, Nickelas Johnson, Aaron Parker, and Aiden Lucas-Buckland. The rest of this merry band make appearances throughout the album, which helps flesh Saul out even further. Despite the new direction in tempo and texture that the Whitsundays have taken with Saul, there’s a common mood, an ethereal feeling that bonds these songs together. To the casual listener, it may just be another catchy pop record, and indeed the songs here are superlatively catchy. But take heed: there's something else at work here: inside these pop songs is something strange, waiting to rise to the surface.