Matthew E. White – Big Inner [Album Review]

by Woody on August 21, 2012

I love times when the book doesn’t match the cover. Looking at a photo of Matthew E. White, you’d immediately think that he is much more apt to crank out some Skynyrd inspired Southern rock jams than this blend of 70s pop, gospel and R&B. While I’ve never been more than a casual fan of Randy Newman, White is apparently a massive fan. That’s a good thing for us.

Big Inner is the first release of Spacebomb Records, a project that centers around a house band, supporting musicians and a central tenet of how music should be made. If Big Inner is a taste of what to expect moving forward, color me excited. In a nutshell, Big Inner is so ridiculously good that it stops you in your tracks. The first time I listened to the stream at work, I had to make sure I was hearing correctly. I started over from the beginning, turned off the phone and just sat their beaming at my shitty computer screen. Hearing it on a proper system at home only helped me appreciate the thought and beauty of White’s arrangements.

The album tackles familiar subjects such as love, death and faith, but in a way that feels more real and natural. And some of the lines in his songs are gems, like in the most uplifting breakup song you’ll ever hear, Big Love. Towards the end he sings “I am a barracuda. I am a hurricane. Live free” with the help of a backing gospel choir. I mean c’mon – that is just gold. There is a sax noodling around before they ease into the outro jam that is jaw-droppingly good. I didn’t even notice the skittering piano work by Phil Cook at first because there is so much good shit going on.

On the next song, Will You Love Me?, White sings “Baby, you’re magnificent, Child, you’re intelligent, Honey, you can pay the rent with that smile on your face.” This is a slow jam that has a little Nawlins’ flavor mixed in from the horns. White spent a considerable amount of time arranging horns for other artists, so as you can imagine – they are pitch perfect.

And at the end, you are left with a 10 minute closer that starts off sounding like something off of The Band’s Rock Of Ages and evolves into a massive gospel tune that you would expect at a church. The chorus that plays for the last 5 minutes, “Jesus Christ is our Lord. Jesus Christ is your friend,” almost made me to go to mass on Sunday. Oz then informed me that I was beyond being saved.

This is a wonderfuly written, wonderfully produced and wonderfully performed album. I am on board with this cat and Spacebomb Records. Give me more.

Matthew E. White “Big Love” by Matthew E. White

Matthew E. White “One of These Days” by Matthew E. White

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jeff Schuler September 8, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Might wanna fix the spelling of Matthew in the article title.

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