Single Review: Matthew E. White – Vision

By on Monday, 27th July 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Last week, American soul pop singer Matthew E. White unveiled a new video for the song ‘Vision’ from his recent album ‘Fresh Blood’, released back in March on Domino Records. Along with the new video, White also announced the release of a new, stripped back version of ‘Fresh Blood’, which he has christened with the singularly appropriate title of ‘Fresh Blood: No Skin’. On the new release, White has removed the largely decorative strings, brass and backing choir from the song arrangements, leaving the basic structure and inner mechanics (i.e., the vocals, guitars, piano and rhythm section) exposed to the ear of the beholder.

I missed the opportunity to write about ‘Fresh Blood’ at the time of its release, but I’m excited to have another chance now, as it definitely ranks among my favourite LPs of 2015 so far. One of the outstanding tracks on the originally released version of ‘Fresh Blood’ is ‘Vision’, a smooth, jazzy number with vibrant brass and string interludes and an upbeat chorus punctuating White’s velvety vocal timbre in the verses. The new video for the song, directed by Clara Aranovich and starring Edi Gathegi and Caitlin Stasey, takes a somewhat ironic look at two people who truly share a vision, despite their individual lack thereof.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/9bErYehiTEo[/youtube]

The ‘No Skin’ version of ‘Vision’ starts almost identically to the original, with a piano melody under White’s soft, rich vocal lines, “come sit next to me, the air is fine / don’t it feel good, honey, don’t it feel good tonight?” As the rhythm section makes its understated entrance, the subtle nuances in the percussion are brought to light by the streamlined instrumental arrangement. The guitar riffs sound sharper, more poignant, and White’s voice is more seductive than ever in this innately rhythm-centered setting.

In the album’s newly unembellished context, the ‘Vision’ chorus lyric “please don’t misread my vision, I’ve seen things I can’t explain” takes on a somewhat more symbolic meaning. Possibly the most important aspect of these straightforward ‘No Skin’ arrangements will be their essential emphasis on White’s lyrics, which in many places reflect his philosophical concerns with the culture and society around him. According to the biography on White’s official Web site, “one lesson of [his 2012 surprise-hit album] ‘Big Inner’ and the tours that followed was that he wanted to be able to believe in his songs every night, to know that the words he sang were more than vehicles for memorable melodies.” While the deliberately conscious songs on ‘Fresh Blood’ already reflect that idea, the stripped back ‘No Skin’ versions will take it to an even deeper level, if the teaser of ‘Vision’ is any indication of the album as a whole.

9.5/10

Matthew E. White’s albums ‘Fresh Blood’ and ‘Fresh Blood: No Skin’ are available now on Domino Records. If the teasers of ‘Vision’ shared above aren’t enough to whet your appetite, you can also listen to the ‘No Skin’ version of ‘Rock and Roll is Cold’ on White’s official Web site. TGTF’s previous coverage of Matthew E. White is right back this way.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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