When Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland merged their solo careers (and lives) in 2010 to form Whitehorse, it seemed meant to be: bringing together her folk subtlety with his bluesy grit made for one dynamic duo. Both excellent guitarists and storytellers, they occasionally still came across as individual artists in the early days. That’s no longer the case on their second full-length, which seamlessly fuses their strengths to striking effect.
Working with an outside producer, Gus van Go, for the first time has intensified their sound, and the production style takes a page from their jaw-dropping live set, which features lots of instrument-swapping and looping for a big, rhythmic result. The heavier low end suits the brooding, sinister narratives: sung in McClelland’s sultry purr, Sweet Disaster initially seems like a love song, but the couple in question are headed into outer space.
Befitting a guy who’s been playing professionally since his teens, Doucet’s killer guitar work is better than ever, as in the stick-in-your-head riff on The One I Hurt. Whitehorse’s sophomore effort signals that this is one musical marriage that’s only getting better with time.
Top track: Sweet Disaster
Whitehorse play Massey Hall on May 8.