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Saturday, 29 August 2015
Eg White - Adventure Man (Parlophone)
Eg White is a man in demand, having written recent chart-toppers like 'Leave Right Now' for Will Young and 'You Give Me Something' from James Morrison. He's also penned songs with the likes of Craig David, Jamelia, Sam Sparro and Take That. Now he's releasing material of his own - an opportunity, he says, to explore something less commercial.
Originally in boy band Brother Beyond, Eg White left before their chart run, and instead teamed up with Alice Temple to produce the critically acclaimed '24 Years Of Hunger' under the name Eg and Alice. And that's where you perhaps need to visit for a better indication of what you hear on Adventure Man. White calls it a collection that is more sophisticated than the pop songs he now writes, but it's not an easy listen, and for reward you may have to give it a few plays.
'But California' is a romantic apology sung in a pained vocal that starts the album uninvitingly. Its a good indication of what follows. 'Weird Friendless Kid' is so Eels-like, it could a track from Beautiful Freak. Perhaps that's the sort of artist White is aspiring to be?
'Til The End' is one of the rare occasions where there's a hint of the successful songwriter, with a sultry slow groove and gentle bass. 'Pay Later' begins with a Kinks-style chord and a happy tune disguising some cutting lyrics about being basically a bit horrible ("When you've screwed everyone you know").
There's more self pity to be found on 'Broken', the album's best track, where White sings over a reflective piano and string backing. There's a quality here that's unmatched elsewhere, on ultimately a disappointing adventure. But 'Time To Fall' and 'Pull Me Through' offer some pleasure later on, the latter featuring the aforementioned Alice Temple.
Other songwriters have done the same as Eg White, and recorded albums of their own. A close but better cousin to 'Adventure Man' is former Semisonic man Dan Wilson, who's worked with Robbie Williams and Dixie Chicks. His solo album offers a similarly stripped down experience, but has more for the casual listener. The press blurb that comes with this release asks why, with so many singer songwriters out there, should we care about Eg White. It's sadly not a question answered here.
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Eg White - Adventure Man (Parlophone)
The man behind hits for James Morrison, Pink and Will Young, tries something a lot less commercial. Maybe he should stick to songwriting for others.
Eg White on Wikipedia
Jay in Hamilton writes...
What an unbelievable review! This album is superb and the best I've heard this year - I wish him all the success he has given to many others with his songs.
Jamie in Scarborough writes...
I think it is a wonderful collection of songs, fractured and yet cohesive at the same time. You need to have a certain musical taste to tackle this properly...I actually think 'Weird Friendless Kid' sounds a bit Belle & Sebastian, with the sort of sweet but angular look at the young. There's a great sense of humbleness pervading this record, and if you're not impressed by humbleness you may struggle. There are times where it sounds like he is trying desperately to keep up with a vast and technically superior backing group, but I found this quite endearing.
Kandise King in New York, USA writes...
I have never met an artist of his versatility that even comes close to the perfection he possesses! Love and Happiness to you always Eg! You are forever in my ears, heart, and dreams! I've never worked with anyone as talented since 24 years! I love you...All the best of success on this and the myriads that are to come! Kandise
Capn Alex in London writes...
It's a very strange album that doesn't sound strange at all. Paradox ahoy. Often the songs' lyrics feel a bit easy, at other times shot through with harrowing self reflection. The paradox comes as the songs are mostly built on major label white soul artist mid-pace pop. Nothing bad about that but it's a mismatch of style and substance that makes the record hard to make sense of, whilst remaining hugely enjoyable at the same time. I've decided to stop analysing it and file under 'awesomely guilty pleasures' ;-) Cap'n Alex.
The Big Daddy Patch in Lancaster - UK writes...
Big thumbs up for Eg, I really enjoy listening to this album one year on...which is a test I feel is worthy of a better rating. 4/5 from me.
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26/04/2009 at 19:16
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