White - White

Year of Release: 2006
Label: Renaissance Records
Catalog Number: WHI050721
Format: CD
Total Time: 52:24:00

White (courtesy)Do you remember somewhere during the second half of the seventies when the five members of Yes each decided to concentrate on a solo release? Jon Anderson released his Olias Of Sunhillow album, Chris Squire had his Fish Out Of Water, Steve Howe gave us Beginnings, whilst Patrick Moraz contributed with his I album. Alan White meanwhile released Ramshackled, whilst Warner released a special promotional album in 1976 including two tracks from each solo release to fill the gap in between Yes releases. A good three decades later and it looks like history is repeating itself. Jon Anderson and Steve Howe have embarked on solo tours, Chris Squire has rejoined his old mates The Syn, and Rick Wakeman has probably released one of the best albums of his career with Retro. Meanwhile Alan White and ex-Yes chum Geoff Downes have joined forces under the banner of White, a new band that also introduces three not so well known musicians. Although having played alongside Chuck Berry, BB King and Spencer Davis, bass player Steve Boyce has mainly spent this time on the technical side of the recording spectrum, also having been involved with Microsoft at some stage. Karl Haug is a versatile guitarist who has played with numerous acts over the years. Skilled on both acoustic and electric guitar (and also slide guitar), his great technique is scattered all over the White album. Finally singer Kevin Currie adds a unique texture to the whole as he has a rather hoarse voice. Deeply rooted in the Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin mould, no doubt his charismatic presence and unique timbre makes up the fivefold in the best possible way.

So although White and Downes are well known names in the world of rock, they have nevertheless opted to take three lesser known musicians under their wings. The result obviously is their collaboration doesn't result in a battle of egos but a combination of individual talents that results in a rather surprising sound, the sound of White! The powerful opening chords of "New Day" immediately illustrates that the material on this album will not suffocate under a huge number of individual solos, but will deliver a sound which can only be the result of the five individuals working together. All of the members except for Geoff Downes contributed to the writing of the new material, which is a good thing. It takes the energy that could be found on Yes' Drama album one step further. Certain songs have a slightly commercial feel, which I guess is the kind of tactics that Yes introduced from the Drama period onwards. Listen to "Give Up Giving Up" which has daytime radio written all over it (in fact my twelve year old son Simon Jay just tells me he likes this song, which is a good thing I suppose, so "don't give up," as a new generation likes this kind of music, too!), so a slightly edited version (the album version clocks in at 4:41 which is too long for radio) could do very well to plug both the band as well as the album.

One of my absolute favourites certainly has to be "Crazy Believer," not in the least because of the ingenious guitar playing by Karl. It's kind of a blues intro which perfectly flows into authentic rock fuelled with extra Hammond organ before the guitar intro is repeated so the song can start all over again. Hammond is often used to give extra support to the arrangements as can also be noticed heavily during "Once And For All" next to some outstanding Mellotron playing. "Mighty Love" is composed around a fairly laidback reggae rhythm which makes this track the odd one out. For my taste it goes on too long without anything major happening along the way. No doubt this could well be a fun tune during live gigs but as part of the album it doesn't really work for me. In "Loyal," Currie's voice gets close to that of Strawbs singer Dave Cousins, whilst from a musical point of view this track gets closest to Yes especially, where Alan's drumming is concerned. The final track "Waterhole" opens with folky acoustic finger picking shedding yet another light on the diversity of White. Here Currie's voice sounds very hoarse and again gets close to Cousins. With some extra slide guitar which would even make Steve Howe blush, the White album comes to a close.

As you can see from the various song credits not one single song has been written by the totality of the band. There is a certain nucleus, yet the five of them together have not written one single piece of music. So I guess if White continues to be more than just a fun band in between Yes activities then they have to try and lock themselves into one room together. I'm sure the result then will be even better than what's on display here. I have enjoyed listening to this album and have done so plenty of times without getting bored or having the urge to put on another CD. Here you have ten wonderful compositions executed by a bunch of crafted musicians who do not try to outshine one another. Instead they complement each other, which delivers a far better end product. One gimmick is missing though, as from now on Alan should only perform with White using a ? white drumkit!

New Day (5:11) / Beyond The Sea Of Lies (4:31) / Give Up Giving Up (4:41) / Crazy Believer (5:31) / Fate (5:16) / Dream Away (4:40) / Once And For All (5:15) / Mighty Love (7:06) / Loyal (4:09) / Waterhole (6:11)

Alan White - drums
Geoff Downes - keyboards
Steve Boyce - bass, vocals
Karl Haug - guitars, vocals
Kevin Currie - vocals

White (2006)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: April 23rd 2006
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.whitemusic.net
Hits: 1848
Language: english


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