Saturday, 16 February 2013

Big Inner by Matthew E White

Where do I start with a blog/review for this remarkable record? If a better album is released in the UK this year then please, please do get in touch with me to make sure I hear it.

The album was released in America last year and slowly filtered through to the UK before finally being released on Domino at the end of January.

I've already become quite acquainted with it via YouTube and now I'm just pleased to own it. I've bought in on CD but it's one of these albums that I'll be buying on vinyl as well. It is just so gorgeous I want to have the LP.

How can I describe it? It is poetic, beautiful, hushed, thoughtful and the playing, singing and production is just outstanding.

'One Of These Days' opens the album. Man, it really doesn't matter what I write here. Just go and listen to it; White's hushed poetic vocals, a band that combine funk, gospel and jazz. This is uplifting music.

So much beauty fades so much soon
And I wanna lay right next to you
When our glory fades 
And I wanna be next to you
And never turn away
One of these days

'Big Love' funks things up, sounding like the Beta Band jamming with James Brown. White sounds so chilled, in complete command of the melodies and the music. The chorus slams in and takes things tribal - brilliant.

'Will You Love Me' just keeps things going. This album is just so soothingly warm and just so f**king good. I do wonder how long White has spent perfecting these songs (the album was recorded in just 7-days), they rise and fall in all the right places, this one in epic manner around the 'only love can do that' mini mantra just over halfway through.

And when things ain't right
You need someone to stay the night
I'll be there until the morning light
And longer if you need

'Gone Away' slows things down, not that things have sped up that much, just at times White and his band soar majestically, at ease. 'Gone Away' is more chilled. The backing vocals and arrangements throughout the album have a real gospel feel to them, none more so than on this track and the closing mantra of 'he will break your kingdom down, he will tear your kingdom down' as the choir/backing singers ad splashes of beauty and then things finally lift off.

'Steady Pace' is more jaunty than anything that has gone before it, quite McCartney-esque in many ways

'Hot Toddies' ode to 'Hot Toddies' on a cold winters night with a string section straight from a 1950's film, getting into another mantra groove before going off on a total tangent for the closing 2-minutes.

'Brazos' closes the album in sensational manner. Check out this live version from the Hopscotch Music Festival that sees White perform with a 30-piece band. This is the Beta Band (again) crossed with Spiritualized.

Jesus Christ is our lord
Jesus Christ, He is your friend

Your life will be better for owning this album.