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White Sea’s in Cold Blood

Posted on the 22 May 2014 by Thewildhoneypie @thewildhoneypie

resized imagejpeg 6 WHITE SEAS IN COLD BLOOD

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White Sea’s debut full-length isn’t for the faint. In Cold Blood will pick you up and thrust you by your shirt collar into a futuristic world of purple and blue — a world so full of big feelings that you may never want to or be able to put your feet back on the earth. Stepping out for solo work apart from M83, Morgan Kibby gracefully flexes her musicianship and shows us that, yeah, she’s absolutely part of the reason we can so easily recall that core melody riff of “Midnight City”. Just imagine a dark M83 video splattered in pastels, and you’ll begin to understand what it means to walk through the mind of this beautiful record. Bursting with soul, color and more melody than should be allowed, In Cold Blood is nothing short of forceful.

The album opener, “They Don’t Know”, gives us a stunning, wide-angle view of what soon becomes a more intimate series of scenes. “Prague” zooms in with Kibby’s fearlessness in terms of both content and magnitude. She slinks coyly along the top of her register for the verses but sings from her gut, full-force for the chorus, toying with the intensity by taking it from zero to max in seconds. “Prague” is also an unarguable masterwork in melody. My figurative jaw drops every time I hear it. Its criminally melodic twin, “Warsaw”, comes later as a ballsy, oddly braggadocious dance trip. There are a couple of slow jams (“For My Love”, “Small December”, and “It Will End In Disaster”) that give us a chance to catch our breath. Kibby’s restraint is stunning, but the majority of the album is made up of high-impact, pop super cells.

Seriously, every single song has “single potential”, which points strongly to deft pop songwriting chops. In terms of pop, though, if you weren’t listening to the words, you might be tempted to describe In Cold Blood as “sugary”, and the synthy melodies sometimes are, particularly on the extremely hooky chorus of “Future Husbands Past Lives”. The maturity and darkness of it all, though, doesn’t allow for talk of candy. Katy Perry she isn’t.

Not only is In Cold Blood addictive and melodic as hell, her timing is impeccable. Kibby builds in layers, leaving no gaps untouched, then slams the synths tsunami-style whenever she deems necessary. The result is pure, trance-inducing cinema. The thick, sensuous soul that Kibby’s voice embodies provides for warmth beside a mostly stainless-steel electronic sterility. The interaction between the instrumentation and her voice sounds as effortless as the way she climbs the scales — as though breathing.

White Sea’s debut full-length has set her up as a master songstress, making an even better follow-up feel unfathomable. It is so big, but it’s also so dense, which demands a skillful hand — she pulls it off with sophistication and boldness. Large-scale and anthemic, In Cold Blood is an album composed of dumbfounding talent and gorgeous inhibition. I asked a friend to take a listen the other day, and his response was, “Epic. Epic. Epic.” I think that about sums it up.

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