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Dark Undercoat (Bonus Track Version)

Emily Jane White

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Album Review

Listening to Dark Undercoat, it's difficult to believe that Emily Jane White once fronted various college punk and metal bands. The frenetic energy that fuels both those genres is totally at odds with the incredibly languorous feel of this set, as White whiles away her time moodily musing, mostly accompanied only by her acoustic guitar or piano. Dark Undercoat, her debut, is awash in dark undercurrents, and tinged with a deeply affecting melancholy, somewhat reminiscent of Nick Drake, which Wainwright Hewlett's superb engineering and production enhances. The sound is underlit with a glowing warmth, the quiet atmospheres subtly acquiring surprising depths, while a sublime intimacy is spun around the entire set. White's dusky, lilting alto conjures up its own spell, as do the simple but artful arrangements. Guitar strumming songs like "Dagger" and "Time on Your Side" illustrate the artist's deep connections to the folk scene, but others have a western bend, foremost among them "Sleeping Dead." In contrast, the magnificent "Bessie Smith" and "Hole in the Middle" sing the blues. "Bessie Smith" and the title track make inspired use of cello, fabulous work from multi-instrumentalist Muir. Bass and drums intensify a number of songs, while White's concert piano skills are highlighted on a pair of tracks, with her supple guitar showcased across the entire set. The music is mesmerizing throughout, moody palettes over which the singer paints pictures of love and loss, and the detritus of dashed hopes and dreams: "a trail of ashes" left behind by soured romances. Like the Marlboro Man, White's men are strong and silent types, many "Wild Tigers" only half-tamed, a few straw men whose strong facades hide their own insecurities. The themes are universal, while her lyrics resonate strongly, abetted by a sprinkling of Biblical references. All told, an inspired album whose atmospheres smolder on long after the music ends. [The 2009 edition included one bonus track.]

Customer Reviews

True talent

This is the most beautiful album that I have heard in a long while. White's shy yet determined, course yet clear vocals are perfectly pair with the bluesy feel of the album, especially in Bessie Smith. I've known white for over a year and am just picking her up again, to unveil the timelessness of this album. This album is very nasalgic for me now. I adore this!

awesome

came across this song hole in the middle on pandora today and had to get the album, very truthful and i love the style cant wait to hear the rest of the songs.

Dark Folk… and I’m in love

I read about this young woman in some music magazine shortly after this album was released, and I felt compelled to listen to her. From the moment pressed play on the first track I selected, “Dark Undercoat”, I was hooked. Her blend of stylistic elements as well as her flair for storytelling transfixed me. I have been following her career (and recommending her to friends whenever I get the chance) ever since.

Biography

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Emily Jane White is a singer/songwriter from California who released her debut album in 2007. Influenced by American blues and folk music tradition along with contemporary female singer/songwriters such as PJ Harvey and Kate Bush, she has been compared to Chan Marshall of Cat Power and Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star. While studying at the University of California Santa Cruz during the early 2000s, White fronted a band called the Diamond Star Halos and began developing her craft as a singer/songwriter....
Full Bio
Dark Undercoat (Bonus Track Version), Emily Jane White
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