we could count the falling stars above our heads

 

Jim White

 

Either the lost third member of the White Stripes, or a "Southern Gothic" (I guess this means he's from the south, folky, but not a redneck) singer-songwriter. You decide.

review index: Wrong-Eyed Jesus / No Such Place

missing albums: none


Wrong-Eyed Jesus - 1997

Rating: ****
Best songs: A Perfect Day to Chase Tornadoes, The Road That Leads to Heaven, Still Waters, Book of Angels
Worst songs: Wordmule, Angel-Land, When Jesus Gets a Brand New Name

 

Jim really has a way with creepy, dark atmospherics. This is most evident on the extended story-ish songs "Still Waters" (about the sordid life of the Pink Floyd bassist) and "A Perfect Day to Chase Tornadoes" (rejected theme from the movie Twister), but even when the lyrics don't seem to be particularly menacing, such as on "Book of Angels", the songs still sound like they should be in Blair Witch 4: When Good Witches Go Bad. The mood isn't omnipresent, of course -- "The Road That Leads to Heaven" is a wistful ballad, and "Heaven of My Heart" is an accordion-driven uptempo number (and we all know how disturbing Weird Al's output is... at least Alapalooza is, anyway) -- but still, it lends the tracks a decidedly Halloween-ey feel, without being cheesy or anything of the sort.

And, by the way, the actual songs kick ass. Not in the rocking sense, but in the sense that they're excellent compositions. However, life, like the lottery or that fucking impossible NES game "Ghosts & Goblins", isn't fair: there are a few bum tracks on here. "Angel-Land" is marred by some really annoying vocals, and "Wordmule" is marred by some...really annoying...vocals. Of course there's also "When Jesus Gets a Brand New Name", which is marred by...well, you can figure it out. If the other tracks weren't so damn good, I'd have to give this album lower marks, but dammit, you just have to hear those other songs. They are, quite simply, amazing.


No Such Place - 2001

Rating: **
Best songs: The Wound That Never Heals, God Was Drunk When He Made Me, Handcuffed to a Fence In Mississippi, Corvair
Worst songs: King of the Road, The Wrong Kind of Love, The Love That Never Fails, Hey! You Going My Way?

 

Less successful than its predecessor. Jim decided to try modernizing his sound a bit, including some programmed percussion on this one. Unfortunately that doesn't compensate for the fact that the songs on here really aren't that great. Okay, allow me to amend that: there are a few great songs on here, such as the serial killer tale "The Wound That Never Heals", uptempo numbers "Handcuffed to a Fence In Mississippi" and "10 Miles to Go on a 9 Mile Road", goofy country "God Was Drunk When He Made Me", and slow mournful "Corvair". But the rest? Is not so good. Aside from "Drunk", there's not really much of interest on the whole second half, and some of these songs just keep going, and going, and going, for more than six minutes at a time. All in all this is quite a disappointing showing following the previous album.


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