10 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The epochal arias that dominate In Cold Blood are synth-pop and 21st-century electronica. White Sea (a.k.a. singer/songwriter Morgan Kibby) takes a richly melodic approach to her tales of heartache and desire, whether she’s embracing martyrdom (“Small December”) or claiming superhuman powers (“Warsaw”). Tracks like “They Don’t Know” and “NYC Loves You” attain a cinematic grandeur, balanced by the day-glo funk of “Prague” and the feverish pulsations of “Flash.” It adds up to a sonic tour de force that never stints on passion.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The epochal arias that dominate In Cold Blood are synth-pop and 21st-century electronica. White Sea (a.k.a. singer/songwriter Morgan Kibby) takes a richly melodic approach to her tales of heartache and desire, whether she’s embracing martyrdom (“Small December”) or claiming superhuman powers (“Warsaw”). Tracks like “They Don’t Know” and “NYC Loves You” attain a cinematic grandeur, balanced by the day-glo funk of “Prague” and the feverish pulsations of “Flash.” It adds up to a sonic tour de force that never stints on passion.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5

64 Ratings

64 Ratings

incredible from beginning to end

Joshuafsmith

Sooooo I’m an avid music listener and a rare reviewer. I typically assume enough people spread their critiques around without my help. But when I realized there haven’t been any reviews for this album yet I wanted to jump at the chance. I’ve been a fan of Morgan Kibby since I knew she was a part of M83 and heard about a pretty legendary performance at the Hollywood Bowl. I bought the “They Don’t Know” single when it came out and was hooked. I heard “Prague" when the single was released on a few websites and it instantly because my favorite song of the year. I checked out “Future Husbands and Past Lives” when Pitchfork streamed it and cannot believe how good the three for three punch was. Most full length albums are lucky to have 3 great songs period and here, the first three released to the public were knock out of the park great. BIG dramatic music that transcends genres. Insanely big voice, crazy good production (“Midnight City” anyone?), and something that can go from an orchestra and bells with crescendos that give you chills, to pounding electronic beats to soft Janet Jackson sounding “Again” album vibes. I just heard the album on a stream in full 3 times and it is sick. Not a weak song and even the order is thought out so it warrants a full listen for how every song just makes sense where it is. I hope everyone catches on because this is album of the year good and the little music snob in me is giddy with the fact that I’m actually going to be able to say I was there first. Well at least on iTunes. HIGHLY recommend.

Kibby Crafts Brilliant, Unique Album

Revenant Media

The sonic landscape that Morgan Kibby has created with the release of White Sea’s debut full length album, “In Cold Blood”, encompasses a broad spectrum of musical genres. Kibby, when not legitimately trapped in her own home by a giant cockroach, has found the time to remix dozens of tracks for other artists, write and record with M83, and create her own solo material for White Sea. It’s been said that a musician has their entire life to write their first album, but only a few short months to craft their sophomore release. Though not her actual debut release, the listener can tell that Kibby wasted no time while creating White Sea’s “In Cold Blood”. Each track was preciously crafted into a perfect musical gem.
The album’s opening track, “They Don’t Know”, finds Kibby’s soaring vocal prowess being pushed to the limits and exceeding any expectations her fans may have had. Kibby’s sultry purrs echo throughout the track. ”Dear friend, just undress me. I am like glass in your hands,” Kibby breathlessly sings. “They Don’t Know” could easily be a subtle love note passed to a cute boy during math class. But that subtleness is thrown out the window during “Prague,” the album’s second track. There’s definitely a dark undertone hidden within the industrial bass lines of “Prague.” Two tracks into “In Cold Blood” and it’s apparent that this album’s inspiration was taken from Kibby’s own personal loves and loses.
The indie rock vibe of “Future Husbands Past Lives” is infused with a healthy dose of 80′s synth pop and continues to showcase Kibby’s ethereal vocals. Continuing on with “For My Love,” Kibby’s voice dances on gossamer piano chords before the bombastic bass lines kick the track into high gear.
The underlying urgency is carried on into “Ex-Pat.” The haunting melody of the track makes for a perfect heartbreaking interlude. The story being told through the songs on “In Cold Blood” are definitely written from the perspective of someone who’s had more than their fair share of heartache and love lost. On no other track is this more apparent that on “Ex-Pat.” Kibby repeats a few desperate lyrics over and over as the obsessive music builds to a crescendo.
“Small December” allows us a time to catch our breath and regroup our thoughts. Kibby’s hushed whispers build into long notes, entwined beautifully with soft piano chords and plucks of the violin.
Kibby isn’t all about doom and gloom being wrapped up with a tidy bow, she’s also about reflecting on life’s past experiences and moving forward onto better things. “NYC Loves You” kicks the listening experience back into high gear as Kibby channels her inner Pat Benatar. “Flash” once again allows us the opportunity to hear Kibby’s gentle vocals echo as they spiral and mix with thunderous bass lines and sharp smacks of the snare drum.
“It Will End In Disaster” makes for the perfect album bookend. It’s a gentle track but one that carries an ominous 70′s pop tone. “You were the edge and maybe someday you will be loved and it will end in disaster.”
Having been a member of M83 for so long, once can hear the subtle hints and chords of Kibby’s other band in White Sea’s music, but that’s to be expected from any artist who plays in multiple bands. I think Kibby influenced M83 as much as they influenced her and snippets of each band can be found in both band’s music, but it’s in White Sea that Kibby is able to truly express her muse.
As with each of the album’s tracks, no matter how heavy or rock filled the music is, there’s always an element of feminine softness and grace, all the while wrapping the majority of these creations in the soft embrace of a full orchestra. Not once does Kibby’s voice falter or waiver. Every track on this albums builds upon the previous and seamlessly blends into the next to create an album worthy for the most avid fan.
I hate rating albums. I may consider this album a 10, but you might think it’s a 7. I will say this through; Don’t cherry pick these tracks off of iTunes. Buy the album in its entirety. You won’t regret it.

An album that gives its listener a full experience.

seatiki

Every single song could be a single. The album has sweet fragile songs like "Small December", hard pounding beats like "Prague" and retro inspired tunes like"Future Husbands Past Lives". Morgan Kibby has put together a well appointed album and her vocals are that of a true songstress. Buy the album. you will be glad you did.

About White Sea

White Sea is the solo project of L.A. singer/songwriter Morgan Kibby, who is best known for her work as vocalist and keyboardist for French electronic act M83. After first appearing under her own name as a solo artist in 2003, Kibby's initial EP was expanded and re-adapted twice under several band names, the last of which was the Romanovs. Following the 2007 release of their lone album, ...And the Moon Was Hungry..., Kibby began her collaboration with M83, providing keys, arrangements, and several songs to their 2008 album Saturdays=Youth. Following months of touring with M83 in 2009, she returned home and began to furnish a home studio, where she recorded the tracks that would comprise White Sea's debut EP, 2010's This Frontier. Her new material was far different than her earlier work with the Romanovs, adopting more of a cinematic, dance-oriented sound that she began with M83. After the EP's release, she divided her time between remixing tracks for other artists (School of Seven Bells, Lord Huron, Manchester Orchestra) under the White Sea moniker and rejoining M83 for their 2011 album Hurry Up, We're Dreaming. In May 2014, Kibby released In Cold Blood, the first full-length album from White Sea. The following year, she began releasing singles and videos as part of her Postcards from Nowhere series, which extended into 2016. That year also saw the release of Bang Gang, a provocative film by director Eva Husson that featured music by Kibby. In 2017, she collected the Postcards from Nowhere songs and additional tracks for White Sea's second album, Tropical Odds. ~ Timothy Monger

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