Emily Jane White - Victorian America

by Nathan Fidler Rating:6 Release Date:2010-07-26

Remember the scene in Matilda where a small boy is forced to eat a while chocolate cake the size of his head? Well, this album is much the same as that chocolate cake. It is an album of beautiful craft and sound, but somehow you struggle to listen the whole way through, and if you do manage it then you feel drained and slightly off-put by it when you come back to it again.

Victorian America is one long miserable trip, stopping off at sorrow, hurt, pain and many other popular destinations; but Emily Jane White has herself admitted she was born to make songs of misery. The album itself starts strongly with 'Stairs' and 'Victorian America' being two of the more tuneful and melodious tracks but that head of steam slowly begins to fade and you become worn and jaded by the constant dark and deep tones of Emily's voice. Most interesting is that she uses words such as "falling", "dropped" and "cave-in" all conjuring imagery possibly relating to the recent hard times and lack of faith across America. 'Frozen Heart' is the song which implores you not to write off this young lady's skills however with haunting lines such as 'there are ghosts dancing with you...There's a wolf under the bed'.

Albums which are so astute musically and lyrically are like gold dust these days, but twelve songs of such foreboding and darkened storytelling is hard to take at the best of times and doesn't make for a comfortable or enjoyable listen anywhere but a darkened room. This problem is highlighted even more in the pace of the album which is tiring and methodically plodding. Perhaps she's a little ahead of herself; after all, there may be light at the end of the tunnel for America yet, a feeling which would have given this album the shot in the arm which it needs. Emily Jane White has the right skills but needs to set herself loose both thematically and in the sound she creates.

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