Matthew E. White presents his second record, full of big arrangements and radiant tunews. And, given that you are purchasing from a wholesome independent record store like ours, you can get your hands on the special, indies-only double LP edition, which exclusively includes a minimalist re-working of the entire album! Deluxe indeed.
- Double LP £19.99
- Shipping cost: £4.25 ?
- NormanPoints: 200 ?
- WIGLP309X / Deluxe indies only, heavyweight vinyl gatefold 2LP edition on Domino. Includes 'Fresh Blood: No Skin’, a complete new full length minimalist mix of the full album
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8/10 Robin Staff review, 04 March 2015
From its off, ‘Fresh Blood’ is Matthew E. White at his most unassuming, dressed in white so as to blend his bold romances and intense desires into the mundanity of everyday life. “Take Care Of My Baby” is gorgeously and ornately arranged -- and White has taken as much care producing it as he did Natalie Prass’ recent slice of traditionalist pop -- but he smoothly and modestly reduces his theme of love, whispering it over guitar that rolls out like a rug being fluffed, atop backing vocals that are more complementary than congratulatory. ‘Fresh Blood’ continues in this vein throughout its run: White’s songs are content to live quietly behind the piano, rather than deep in his tortured heart.
‘Fresh Blood’ harkens back to old-school soul as much as it does folk rock, which White proved to be his mode of operation on ‘Big Inner’; with a constant flurry of lilting backing vocals holding his performance up, his songwriting starts to echo the solo works of the lovelorn Smokey Robinson as much as anything -- his vocals, softer than ever and maintaining a steady high pitch, are juxtaposed by roomy basslines that subdue the melodrama and keep it under wraps. “Feeling Good Is Good Enough” sees White at his subtlest, a piano ballad that speaks to his reverent, awed evangelism -- while it sounds like a love song, he sing-whispers like it’s a direct prayer to his God.
In its attempt to modestly resolve each of its songs -- even the depressingly symphonic “Circle ‘Round the Sun”, which circulates dour strings around a piano ballad, still only whispering its intense climax -- ‘Fresh Blood’ ultimately loses some of the unhinged brilliance of predecessor ‘Big Inner’. It’s tonally a much more homogenous record, and a song like “Bravos” -- the hypnotic, swelling slice of worship rock that we call White’s best song yet -- is replaced with a softer, less frantic appeal to a higher cause. That subdued tone is a sign off a better and more assured songwriter, with the same interesting stories of faith to share and a different set of heartbreaks to detail.
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