Emily Jane White - 2009 - Victorian America

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Artist: Emily Jane White
Release: Victorian America
Released: 2009
Label: Talitres Records
Catalog#: Tal 050
Format: FLAC / Lossless / Log (100%) / Cue
[color=blue]Country: USA
Style: Folk

01. Never Dead
02. Stairs
03. Victorian America
04. Baby
05. Frozen Heart
06. The Country Life
07. Liza
08. The Ravens
09. Red Serpent
10. Red Dress
11. A Shot Rang Out
12. Ghost of a Horse

Emily Jane White's singing voice, wispy and sweet but undercut with an alluring world-weary weight, lends itself to brow-furrowing introspection and rustic tales of woe. And there are more than a few songs like this on her second album, Victorian America. She doesn't go out of her way to invoke a comparison to Cat Power, but during certain moments it's difficult to not notice the flattering (albeit striking) resemblance. If dour tracks like "Never Dead" and "The Baby" don't outright mimic Chan Marshall's indomitable style, they're at least more than a little beholden to her.
To White's credit, though, she doesn't let these impressions linger-- even at their most bathetic, her songs are buoyed with helpings of strings, pedal steel, and other instrumental touches that play their part without overstating their presence. The title track, a string-swept ballad that makes references to Hurricane Katrina, is a perfect example. Instead of overselling the drama, White maintains a certain distance from the emotion the song conveys, singing the lyrics in a stately and precise fashion. The musical accompaniment ably mimics this elegant pose, turning the song into something much more affecting. In comparison, an elegiac tear-soaked ballad like "The Ravens" opts to fully immerse itself in the tragedy of its broken-hearted subjects. "And so I walk the line," White sings, "to the beating of this never-ending lie," detailing in painstaking poetic fashion a love that was destined to die.
An album full of these sorts of lilting sorrows would be just fine (if a little samey), but thankfully there's more to Victorian America than that. The wry and humorous "The Country Life", with White striking the carefree pose of a been-there done-that woman who's still not done living her life, is a pleasant departure from the album's overall weightiness. The same goes for "Liza", a track whose talk of warnings and death is belied by a spry gait (and a pretty sly "Be My Baby" nod). And even when White bites off more than she can chew (as on the pseudo-song-suite "Stairs") or tries on poses that don't quite fit (like the heavy electrified stomp of "Red Dress"), the adventurous spirit of such detours more than makes up for their shortcomings. It's heartening to see an artist as young as Emily Jane White recognize and exploit her strengths; it's even more heartening to see her try something apart from those strengths, failure be damned.		
Emily Jane White - 2009 - Victorian America/01. Never Dead.flac 16.844 MB
Emily Jane White - 2009 - Victorian America/02. Stairs.flac 30.027 MB
Emily Jane White - 2009 - Victorian America/03. Victorian America.flac 19.925 MB
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