White Violet - "Hiding, Mingling" CD Review (Normaltown Records) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Sunday, August 19, 2012

White Violet - "Hiding, Mingling" CD Review (Normaltown Records)

DOWNLOAD: White Violet - "Lays Around Lazy"

Athens, GA’s White Violet is the brainchild of Nate Nelson, who's known for both his production work, as a touring musician (he's played with Maria Taylor and Nik Freitas, among others), and for his solo albums (the first of which, 2004’s Random Acts, was released when he was only 16). Nelson has joined up with Vaughan Lamb, Brad Elliott (Friendly Foes) and Josh McCauley (Maserati) to form White Violet and the band released their debut CD, Hiding, Mingling on August 14th (Normaltown Records). Everything on Hiding, Mingling originated as "Nate Nelson" songs but it didn’t end that way.

Hiding, Mingling is a mellow and melancholy disc with only a few cuts breaking free from the weight of the day and the weariness of the night. The band describes this disc as being for “the tired fighters, the weary and romantic…for those who struggle between breathing in new life and exhaling a sigh". Andy LeMaster (who has both produced and played with Conor Oberst/Bright Eyes) gives the songs an organic sound so that you can clearly hear the slide of the guitar strings and the brush of the drums.

Nelson sings with a quavering tenor (similar to Conor Oberst) and the minimalist instrumentation on most of the tracks highlight Nelson’s vulnerable and introspective lyrics. Opener “White Wash” is a hushed and rolling requiem for lost friends. This track is followed by the “4AM” which, as the song title suggests, is a song about late-night introspection which features gauzy and sparse electric guitar lines beneath Nelson’s vocals. The acoustic “Station” highlights the sadness in Nelson’s voice and is brilliant in its simplicity.

Some of the tracks on this disc break free from the melancholy and add a spark of light to the darkness. “Lays Around Lazy” has a pulsing beat, ringing guitars and Big Star style harmonies (from Maria Taylor). “Everyday Listening” is another upbeat track which features ringing guitars and a good beat. “A Book” is a psychedelic-tinged, alt-rock number which is powered by reverb-drenched guitar lines. The disc comes crashing back into the darkness on the final number “Ghost, Teacher, Girl and I” and the song’s uneasy dissonance ends the disc on a somewhat disconcerting note.

White Violet