Luke White is the sort of artist who BBC Radio 2 listeners would admire; he has that Rufus Wainwright gentle yet overwhelmingly emotive approach to his songs. ‘Outside In’ is a record which is full of moody and downbeat songs which, as the title suggests, all emerge as songs of alienation, but that might just be White‘s haunting voice which gives this impression.
The majority of the songs on the record are really slow and sombre efforts, which give the album a slightly strange feel and an offbeat pacing. The slowness isn’t a bad thing per say and I’d have this over Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds any day, simply because the songs on this record resonate and feel like there’s a ton of emotion lumped in.
Stand out tracks are lead single ‘Black Market Roses’ and ‘Made Of Love’, both of which sound like they could have been written by Elliot Smith. At the same time though, Luke White has his own unique style which comes through loud and clear. There’s a brooding sense of loss and broken romance, but it feels like White takes a thoughtful and mature approach to songwriting.
White‘s voice is one of great range and ability, but on this record there are other aspects which come to the forefront. On ‘Stay Young’, there’s a beautiful little guitar solo which is short but completely adds to the ambience of the song and you get a real sense of how many elements and details White puts into each track to make it work.
In one sense, it would have been great to have a few upbeat tracks to vary it slightly and also to see what White could do with something a bit more adventurous. However, at the same time, there’s something inspiring about listening to an album with so much emotion right the way through and an artist not having to compromise what they want to do in order to shift units.
It’s hard to pick out too many bad points on the record, but sometimes the use of electronics seems forced or overdone which is mainly a production issue, but on some songs it just spoilt the level of purity. Also, even though there are bags of emotion and human spirit, it feels like this record is only just scratching the surface of what White is truly capable of. If he betters himself on his next record, he’s surely bound for mainstream success.
Written by Greg Spencer
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.