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Whisper House

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Album Review

A dalliance with Broadway reinvigorated Duncan Sheik, winning him a Tony and opening up the new artistic avenues he pursues on Whisper House, his first album since the award-winning production of Spring Awakening and his 2006 LP, White Limousine. Whisper House falls somewhere between those two extremes, being a dramatic piece that plays a lot like a classic '70s singer/songwriter album, especially when the opener, "It's Better to Be Dead," unfolds quietly yet dramatically in the tradition of early Elton John. Whisper House rarely gets this grand, either in its production or its intent. It's an intimate affair, with the many duets with singer/songwriter Holly Brook playing like overheard conversations, but as carefully considered as the narrative is, what makes Whisper House work is that it functions as a pop album. It can be broken up into small, digestible pieces — the ten tunes are either delicate folk numbers or surprisingly sprightly pop tunes — and it can be appreciated as a concise collection of catchy straightforward songs that build upon each other. Indeed, among Sheik's albums this ranks among the best, showcasing his subtle skills and sense of quiet adventure in ways his sometimes fussy earlier records never did.

Customer Reviews

A story well told

Duncan Sheik has done it again. He's managed to create another wonderful story from start to finish with his amazing musicality and lyrics. Do yourself a favor and buy this album. As a bonus, the remake of The Psychedelic Furs "The Ghost In You" (my personal favorite Furs song) is phenomenal.

Great album

I'm extremely thrilled by this release. Very pure and honest. And he totally rocks the remake of "The Ghost In You".

Whisper House is a Masterpiece!

Let me start by saying that I didn't know anything about Duncan until Spring Awakening, except maybe his top 40 hit from his debut album. But that certainly all changed with Spring Awakenining. Definitely in my top five albums of all time. And that's saying a lot! I have over 40,000 songs in iTunes and 2,000 CDs and albums. Saw it twice in New York. Anyway, when I saw Duncan receive his Tony Award, he said I hope you (the Broadway community) will have me because I'd like to stay. (or something to that effect) Ever since, I been collecting his other work. And then I read about Whisper House before it was released. But after a bit, i forgot about it until browsing iTunes the other day. Well, I had no idea that Duncan had recorded and released the music himself, rather than a cast recording. Very strange and certainly not typical. But boy am I glad he did. Even if there eventually a cast album, I highly doubt it will outdo this incredible album. There is something about his haunting melodies and superb storytelling that completely grabs you. It's happy and solemn at the same time. Really hard to describe and categorize. The first time I heard, I thought, eh I don't really get it. I mean I liked it because it had a lot of Spring Awakening's musical qualities. But then, the other night I couldn't sleep, so I whipped out my iPhone and Bose headphones and decided to give it another listen. Let me just say, if you really want to appreciate this, use headphones! It is a completely different experience. The little nuances in the orchestra and simple but incredible harmonies are some of the best I have ever heard. And now I have a new person to love in Duncan's vocal partner, Holly Brook. I LOVE her voice. It is just so beautiful. And the two of them together is a match made in heaven. I think I will now buy her solo debut from a couple of years ago. Anyways, I highly recommend this. In my opinion, it is the top recording of 2009. And as I said, I hear it all. Bravo Duncan. Can't wait for more. Grow but don't ever change!


Born: November 18, 1969 in Montclair, NJ

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Alternative singer/songwriter Duncan Sheik premiered in mid-1996 when Atlantic released his self-titled debut album. With an appearance on the soundtrack to the TV hit ER, Sheik became somewhat well known in alternative circles. Born in 1970, Duncan Sheik grew up in South Carolina but spent many of his early years living with his grandparents in New Jersey. Inspired to play the piano while there, he later moved to electric guitar and performed in bands throughout high school. While studying at Brown...
Full Bio

Top Albums and Songs by Duncan Sheik

Whisper House, Duncan Sheik
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