- Let's Whisper, The In-Between Times
(Fika Recordings, digital, vinyl)
The cover of Let's Whisper's new album, The In-Between Times, depicts a spiral made up of colored half circles. It looks as if the once-whole circles were cut down the middle and one half were shifted up so that a purple circle flows into a red one, a red circle into an orange one, and so on. The visual effect is a beautiful representation of the themes that Let's Whisper explore on the LP: the cycles we find ourselves in, what happens when they end and new ones begin, and what happens in between.
Colin Clary and Dana Kaplan, of Burlington indie pop band the Smittens, formed Let's Whisper as a bedroom-pop side project in the mid-2000s. Over 13 songs, The In-Between Times offers the type of sentimental, nostalgic music that would be at home in a quirky, early aughts rom-com soundtrack with bands like the Magnetic Fields, the Microphones, Seabear and the Weakerthans.
I won't say Let's Whisper are an international supergroup, but it's tempting. Each member of the now five-piece band has an impressive résumé, including the Essex Green's Jeff Baron, Burlington expat and Boston-based music blogger Brad Searles, and UK-based artist Emma Kupa. Recording engineer Gary Olson also adds vocals and trumpet.
Let's Whisper are uniquely skilled at growing a song into a sonic bloom. "Long Run," the only track with Kupa on lead vocals, is a gentle pop song deep in the album that snaps the listener to attention. It starts out as a sweet, simple tune, picks up at the bridge with a melancholic guitar solo, and blossoms at the end with triumphant horns and vocals.
"I Don't Know What I Would Do Without You" starts with Searles' energetic, poppy drums over layered rhythm guitars and meandering surf-rock riffs. Vocals chant in a call-and-response manner, the drums pick up, and a guitar solo takes over for a proper indie rock jam at the end.
Those two tracks are my favorites on the album and are also most different from the rest. The In-Between Times is otherwise a relatively safe album. Let's Whisper could take more risks — they certainly have the collective talent to do so.
"This is a record about love and loss and change and possibilities," the band writes on the album's Bandcamp page. Let's Whisper focus on the positive elements of these themes, chanting affirmations from the very first track: "You are loved, loved, loved." Times of change can be scary. Put these songs on and be reminded that they are also ripe with opportunities.
The In-Between Times is available on all major streaming platforms. Purchase on vinyl at shop.fikarecordings.com.
Disclosure : Jeff Baron is a Seven Days employee.