Matthew E. White: Fresh Blood (Domino) Review | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Matthew E. White

Fresh Blood

Domino

Mar 10, 2015 Matthew E. White Bookmark and Share


“Nobody in this world is better than us,” sings Matthew E. White part way through his sophomore LP Fresh Blood. From anybody else it would sound like impossible bravado, but from the Virginia-born song man it works on two levels: a bold proclamation and a strangely self-deprecating statement.

There’s never really been a hint of arrogance to White’s songwriting. He trades almost exclusively in matters of the heart and lays them bare for all to see. If anything, he exposes himself with shocking frankness; his tender, undulating croon revealing the fragile makeup of his innermost feelings.

In that sense, Fresh Blood doesn’t stray too far from home. White has produced another soul-stirring collection of tales about love, life, and whatever else twirls his emotional compass. But this time something’s different; this time it’s smoother sounding than ever.

Now, White’s never been rough and ready, but the silky keys, parping brass, and sumptuous harmonies running through songs like “Rock & Roll is Cold” and “Feeling Good Is Good Enough” are smoother than the lines of a cocktail bar Romeo. Opener “Take Care My Baby” is just as dreamy, using swelling production to transform White into a finger clicking, tux-donning crooner from yesteryear.

The inoffensiveness has its downsides. By the time you make it to “Vision” and its sleek ‘70s style sheen, it’s hard not to think of this as anything but prime dinner party fodderpleasant background filler, yes, but without any particular talking point. And, for all its beauty, there’s a niggling feeling that White isn’t particularly stretching himself.

Which is a shame, because Fresh Blood is a much more consistent album than its predecessor. But with it, White has lost some of the sparkle that makes him so compelling. It’s a balance he needs to put right. (www.matthewewhite.tumblr.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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