Matthew E. White

Fresh Blood

Matthew E. WhiteFresh Blood
8
Though we're only a few months in, 2015 has boded well for Richmond, Virginia-based label/studio/collective Spacebomb so far. After releasing Natalie Prass's stunning debut in January, founder Matthew E. White keeps Spacebomb's stock rising with his equally magnificent sophomore LP, Fresh Blood. While Fresh Blood's home is on indie stalwarts Domino, it very much carries the Spacebomb ethos established on White's and Prass's debuts, with orchestral soul-rock courtesy of Spacebomb's house band and a capable, talented leader and composer at its helm.
 
White often comes off as a neo-hippie preacher, with dogmatic lyrics, a carefully procured brand and image and a soothing lilt befitting of a caring teacher. From the bombastic soul-grit of "Fruit Trees" to "Tranquility," an elegiac lament for Philip Seymour Hoffman, White and the Spacebomb house band consistently deliver fully developed yet concise, soulful statements with deft sonic layering. Despite featuring up to 30 musicians playing at a time, Fresh Blood never gets bogged down by instrumentation, having been meticulously mixed to allow the listener to hone in and appreciate every last detail. Though the album hits an early peak with "Holy Moly," a biting, symphonic whirlwind of a track, it delivers consistently through its final, uplifting moments.
 
If "Rock and Roll is Cold," according to the album's infectious sing-along of a lead single, White's record is the opposite: warm and inviting. It's a feel-good record with intricate, heartfelt tunes, and effectively spreads the gospel of the church of Spacebomb. (Domino)
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