Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Tom Waits' influence crops up in unexpected places.
After his superbly titled Wrong-Eyed Jesus, the man who goes by the unmemorable nom de disque Jim White comes back for a second album of dark narratives, juke-joint folk-blues a la Tom, and disconcerting atmospheric productions on stories which begin, "Long about an hour before sunrise she drags his body down to the edge of swollen river wrapped in the red velvet curtain stolen from the movie theatre where she works ... "
That kind of story-telling comes from the midpoint of Waits, James McMurtry and a pantheon of Southern gothic writers. But Sparklehorse and Will Oldham are also your references if their spook circus, noir-strings and plucked guitars are familiar.
White's No Such Place comes with titles such as The Love That Never Fails, The Wound That Never Heals and Handcuffed to a Fence in Mississippi.
With production by Morcheeba and others, this collection of songs infiltrated by spoken word, dissociated voices, angular sounds and powerful narratives is a real grower.
The album cover includes newspaper snippets about seedy characters robbing banks, bodies found and doomsday predictions by fundamentalists.
Corpses of cars, relationships and people litter these songs so context is all on this collection which reminds that the Devil is in the details.
Despite the "no such place" album title, this is a world which exists - but in the darkest of unhappy hearts and uneasy psyches.
Highly recommended, more so if Robert Johnson's possessed spirit, Tom Waits' broken crankshaft of emotions, or turpentine are to your taste.