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Emily Jane White - Victorian America

  by Paul Waller

published: 5 / 7 / 2010

Emily Jane White - Victorian America
Label: Talitres
Format: CD


Melancholically enchanting second album from Californian singer-songwriter, Emily Jane White

Californian native Emily Jane White’s previous album, 'Dark Undercoat', was just that, a record containing many tales of the dark underbelly of her world. For this her sophomore effort she is covering similar ground. There are no happy songs. Joyful outbursts or giggling rhetoric. None. With 'Victorian America' the mood is of sombre tone. Lovers of her previous work can take comfort in her reluctance to cheer up. The title track is a breezy slice of gentle Americana, but elsewhere folk is the genre Emily explores to the fullest. 'Frozen Heart', for example, is achingly beautiful, from the Chan Marshal-esque vocal delivery to the way the keys of the piano keys are pressed against the felt and wood of the keyboard, White shows herself to be the master manipulator, stirring the listener's emotions and transporting us to the macabre goings on inside her mind. Not since Kristin Hersh’s 'Your Ghost' has a song tugged at the heartstrings in such a cinematic way. Elsewhere album closer 'Ghost On a Horse' contains sweeping strings to add in to the mix. All other instrumentation lies on top of some gentle wind chimes that convey a child like wonder of the world, juxtaposed with the withered vocal take. It‘s a fascinating finale. “Oh take me please, away from this crowd,” she pleads over the crescendo of what I imagine is the chorus, not that she repeats it again. A minute later she has been taken away, hopefully only until album number three. It may be a word that is often used by journalists at whim but if you had to sum this album up in a in one quick soundbite then that word would be ‘enchanting’. Let’s hope she doesn’t cheer up any time soon.

Track Listing:-
1 Never Dead
2 Stairs
3 Victorian America
4 Baby
5 Frozen Heart
6 The Country Life
7 Liza
8 The Ravens
9 Red Serpent
10 Red Dress
11 A Short Rang Out
12 Ghost Of A Horse

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