Whitehorse is the latest duo of husband and wife following in the footsteps of famous couples like Sonny and Cher and Johnny and June (but hopefully not like Ike and Tina). Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland recorded this EP after performing together for a little bit. They both previously nurtured solo careers having a collective of records between them. Luke had worked on Melissa’s records before as producer and co-writer of a few songs including A Girl Can Dream from 2009’s Victoria Day and two tracks from 2004’s Stranded In Suburbia that includes her hit Jaded.
This record is much more electric than any of Melissa’s previous records and perhaps fits closer to Luke’s sound albeit not as heavy in the roots sound and still moreso on the side of electric rock and country. Some of the tracks are updated versions with influence from each other on the final mixes. The first single Broken was originally a Luke song about an ex-girlfriend with the key line “you gotta have a heart to have a broken one.” Melissa got her hands on it, changed a few lines, added in a few of her own and the new version was born with Melissa never sounding as confident as she does here.
Another old song made new is Passenger 24. Perhaps Melissa’s most beloved song. With some deep muscular guitar work from Luke, the new version gives the song a whole new feeling. Stripping it of the western tavern sound and removing the old upright piano, it now stands as a gutsy account of a travelin’ man in the old west.
Maybe the riskiest track on the EP is the cover of Bruce Springsteen‘s classic I’m On Fire. Both singers have always had clear Springsteen influences in their songs. Melissa has a cover of Factory on her Suburbia album, for instance. The once intimate song by Bruce updated by Melissa and Luke has been given new life, combining their slick vocals that match just right. Perhaps leaving a sour note for Springsteen purists but an interesting twist nonetheless.
Whether just a one-time collaboration or a permanent gig, Whitehorse brings out the best qualities in husband and wife. A few of the songs have them sounding better than they’ve ever sounded on their own while others just to sing together. There’s definitely potential in what these two could come up with whether doing solo or collaborative records if this one is any indication.
1. Eulogy For Whiskers, Part 1
2. Killing Time Is Murder
3. Emerald Isle
4. Passenger 24
6. I’m On Fire
7. Night Owls
8. Eulogy For Whiskers, Part 2