Thursday 19 March 2015

Fresh Blood

Big Inner by Matthew E. White was my album of the year in 2013, so I have been looking forward to his follow up. Thankfully I didn't have too long (in album terms) to wait.

Fresh Blood, released on White's own Spacebomb Records in conjunction with Domino, contains all the charms and delights offered on White's debut - the gorgeous dry delivery, exceptional arrangements, warm production and flowing melodies.

The album opens with Take Care My Baby with White in loving poetic form; the playing and production is beautifully warm, White's voice is soothing and welcoming, the melodies flowing, the Spacebomb house band gelling with ease, horns soaring, incredible percussion. It is brilliant stuff; no-one else (to my knowledge - please tell me if i am wrong) is creating music and melodies like this.

Oh the diamonds on the sea look like your eyes to me

Love will make the flowers grow
and blossom till its colours show

Baby I never met another one like you before
Talking all night long
From the midnight on

Rock n Roll Is Cold pours scorn on the current rock n roll scene while sounding like superb rock n roll with more than a dash of soul.

White referenced God and religion throughout Big Inner and Holy Moly sees him reference child sex abuse in the Catholic Church. The very subject injects a feeling of disgust and White ensures the listener is in no doubt about his own.

Holy moly, what's wrong with you.....
don't you ever give me false hope, don't you ever give a man false hope

F**k 'em all, love is home
Home is love, f**k 'em all

Almost to display his own faith, White follows with Circle 'Round the Sun; a gentle strum and shuffle that sounds like it could easily have been lifted off a Lennon or Harrison solo album.

So wrap your arms around me Jesus, like the circle 'round the sun

Hand in hand , do you know where we're going
Hand in hand, I'll go where you lead me

White's lyrics are often simple, yet the music and arrangements surrounding them are exquisite, lifting the song and allowing White's melodies to flow and he comes on all Marvin Gaye on Feeling Good Is Good Enough, especially on the line I feel like making it with my baby one last time leading to an extended outro - just listen to the drums!

Tranquility is aptly named, dreamy strings for the first half of the song before piercing electric guitar wakes the listener from the lullaby, before going all gentle dreamy again, dig deeper for the lyrics which were written following the death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

White does love in simple form, but sometimes you don't need to say too much and Vision begins with the line nobody in this world is better than us, repeated for extra effect. After a few dreamy tunes White throws in a huge chorus.

Dry humour ushers in Love Is Deep along with acoustic guitars, a real Wall of Sound percussion, Stax horns and the kind of backing vocals that just get me every time - the kind that are a real important part of the song, harmonising, having their own sections.

Everybody ought to think twice baby
Cause love is deep
Cause love is deep shit

The song grows to flow beautifully with White referencing some of his musical heroes.

Matthew E. White plays Oran Mor on Tuesday 14th April. I intend to be there.

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