. issue VIII : iii .

by barathron

. artist : matthew e. white .
. album : big inner / one of these days/ain’t that what love is 7” .
. year : 2012-3 .
. label : hometapes / spacebomb / domino .
. grade : a plus .


Kindness to a fault. The meek shall inherit.


One should think ‘exactly where do they come from?’ these tasty tidbits of social consciousness, fill in the blank awareness, hereditary verbal catchphrase crutch, a dominant strata of the ruling class that sows the small seeds of contentment and antirevolution into the mass of proletariat humanity? Have I been watching “They Live” way too much?

As grateful as I am that Matthew E. White exists, I’m even more thankful that someone like this is going to continue to do work. You never hear enough about these low-key vocals, every catch pistons, and with a band this large you’d think relatives would’ve socially media’d these names median into traffic. Sleepy deadpan Do Re Egon Ivan Reitman on the scene; complex emotional vocals; the music is pitch perfect beautiful in every terminology and standard of measurement (production, rhythm, dynamic choices).

[NOTE: The recording of the 7” does not allow for an ultra-slowed version of Mister White’s gravel shuffle side drawl, instead it leans into the western jangle of the alvin simon theodore chew. And even here, “Ain’t That What Love Is” has sunken bruised emotion bleeding on sunny jagged sharp coral bleach; “One of These Days” has a gospel funk of timeliness, an instagram kodachrome filter doubletake. Neither speed sounds particularly wrong (CONNOR SEZS: “DISCLAIMER, freakazoid goes full blue and has to listen at alternate speed eventually, coming to terms with the existence and search for the message and the meaning, and I do dig that beat and vocals of the sped up “One of These Days,” Taste of Honey fresh bass or guitar or whatever line toward the end foaming smoker hive harvest worthy, AMELIA / TAZEWELL COUNTY SHOUT CAPS OUT) and that is a marked sacrament of the great album. You’re going to even believe (CONNOR SEZS: Paranoid Schizophrenic True Believer got the spirit…) that the final production took these accounts to settle and saddled up into the sunset.]

A human background moan in “Will You Love Me,” keeping a beat simple with a tiny drum is built into a foundation within the original blueprint of sound, skeleton of balsa plywood replaced by the evolved forming of the same kin keen in a clarinet and french horn. To say that the orchestra is masterful and produced well is an understatement: educated echoes of excellent musics form a southern humidity sluice, a river of iced tea waterfalling off a big rock candy erosion.

“Steady Pace” has that shuffle beat of movement, like “Big Love” (gotta love that modern warmup that shatters into space changing mercurial soundstage), building up soft shoe ragtime and proper folk singalong. An upright piano and a saloon as appropriate soundtrack, but with this Gatsby flesh out, the class and chrome applied dances appliances showroom smell sun floor new, glowworms of moonbeams lucaflecting.

“Brazos” fools me every time, appearing at random from speakers. A musical orchestral flair at first pitches up, going to Tower of Power horn section and Georgey Martin McFlyaway String section. I go from thinking of an opera or other theatrical soundtrack to an obscure jazz album and then this New Orleans Jazz Funeral Procession that marks the signature of the bearded beatific guru.

“Gone Away” has that slow building start, carefully controlled dynamics au current Cadillac climate controlled; you’re pleasantly surprised by “Why are you living in heaven today? / Why are you living there now?” with its gentle string section. This voice is something to cradle you, Randy Newman softened stevia. Tennessee Williams comes to mind, in a southern gothic style, in a geographic subject heading, but what is it that sparks that association for me? Is this easy-going Sunday evening swing squeaking because of what I know inherently or what I hear?

These songs all turn tellings into teachings into tract, gain without pains excepting those aching feels of reflection recessive in the forward barreling consciousness. I cannot think of barrels without Donkey Kong, while I assume most people would associate “Beer Barrel Polecats” or the toy Barrel of Monkeys. (CONNOR SEZS: Mon-lock; a monastic vow.)

The only thing I fear is the comfort and the ease and the style; too much of a good thing and I’m waiting for the other cliché to rock me, gutter dead eighties (wolfgang, wolfgang / bloodhound bruise bang / amadeus, amadeus / ahhhhhhhmadeus): too much of a good thing … but, everything in moderation means even moderation applies, meta-mology. (CONNOR SEZS: I like it.)

by Perkus Tooth