Husband and wife duo Whitehorse pack an emotional punch with the first single from their new album The Fate of the World Depends on this Kiss. (I promise I’m not wallowing in clichés here, the punch is literal. Watch the video.) Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland, major talents in their own right, have continued their musical partnership that began last year with the release of their self-titled debut.
The song (and video) are everything that a track called Achilles’ Desire should be. Greek mythology brings us Achilles as the son of a nymph and king, with a name usually interpreted to mean grief of the people. He is best known as the tragic central character of Homer’s Iliad where he is manipulated by Zeus, has his love stolen by Agamemnon, hears of his friend Patroclus killed in battle while wearing his own armor, and ultimately kills the Trojan Hector to avenge him. He is caught up in the most human of narratives where love, loss, honour, friendship, jealousy and rage swirl around him in the constant push and pull of a heaving storm that even Zeus can’t fully control. (Easy there, cheeseball)
Whitehorse’s take shows us the same push and pull of a couple’s relationship. There’s rage and jealously tangled up with tenderness and desire. It’s a beautiful representation and a riveting song.
This kind of thoughtful musicianship is one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed Whitehorse’s work together so much. I wrote in a previous Song of the Week about their gripping exploration of mortality and the inevitability of time’s passage, Killing Time. My favourite thing about interviewing them about that song, though, was finding out that Luke and Melissa are also passionate about science. Later this week on Scientific American’s Guest Blog, I’ll be exploring Whitehorse’s love of science and their advocacy for scientific thinking in more detail. Come by and check it out. Until then, you can find me listening to Achilles’ Desire on repeat.
Update: My interview with Luke and Melissa was published on the Science American Guest Blog on September 16, 2012: There’s another passion behind the music of Whitehorse: The sound of scientific thinking.
Whitehorse’s second album, The Fate of the World Depends on This Kiss, was released August 28, 2012 by Six Shooter Records.