Big Inner

Music Review

6 Oct 2014
Matthew E White
Big Inner
Formats also available: vinyl, download
vinyl, download

Matthew E White is a prolific guy indeed. In addition to releasing a single (One Of These Days), this album and a follow up EP called Outer Face, he fronts an avant-garde jazz band (Fight the Big Bull), and manages to arrange ‘this’ and collaborate with ‘them’ as well. It’s an admirable work ethic from a guy who only went solo two years ago. His style and choice of music invites many comparisons, all are very complimentary in their nature. There is a bit of pop, gospel, rock, New Orleans jazz and much else woven into his album. I would describe him as a North American version of Guy Garvey (Elbow), the musical tapestry may not be identical but the talent, ambiance, individuality and qualities are in many respects very similar.

Big Inner is made from a very heavy dose of 70s sound of the very highest pedigree. The music will be eerily familiar to those who are 50 or over for that reason. Soul, rock, blues and gospel fusion supported by brass and strings dominate the album, but there is much to enjoy besides. There is a Blood, Sweat & Tears feel to some of the arrangements, while others sound like an unpublished track from a never released Beatles album, or a future Elbow album. One of the tunes has a very strong flavor of Randy Newman’s style in that era. White's singing style is quiet and nonchalant, no drama and no shouting, just a rhythmic and melodious presentation of four minute musical vignettes. The recording quality is nothing to write home about, but that does not detract from this enjoyable and fairly short 41 minute album – a good fit on a vinyl LP. It’s the perfect album for those who crave an easy to digest yet interesting new musical encounter.

Stand out track: Big Love

Reuben Klein