ROCKIN' OUR TURNTABLE: White Mystery
By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 19, 2013 9:00PM
This writer admits to having a difficult past with the musical output of White Mystery. While I've always appreciated the dedication of the sibling duo, and wished them the best in their endeavors, I've also never really warmed to their songs. The two-piece garage rock thing, at least in this case, never really pulled me in. While I never doubted their sincerity or dedication to their craft, their craft never made a lasting impression on me, and numerous live shows did nothing to convince me differently.
The band's new album, Telepathic, is out tomorrow—yes, on 4/20 (heh heh)—and while I retain my opinion of their previous work with this release they've produced an LP that finally allow me to "get it." Now I'm no dummy, and I know that in order to truly enjoy the rock and/or roll of this styling the best bet is to disconnect your cerebral cortex and just give in to the primitive emotional urges that lay more deeply embedded in your grey matter. But in order for that approach to work, the music has to truly align with that approach; it can't just simulate, it needs to stimulate. And Telepathic is stimulating.
Telepathic sees White Mystery broadening their sonic palette. Singer / guitarist Miss Alex White is a musical omnivore, and has played in a wide range of bands, but this is the first album where she starts to tie all those different nuances together. The opening song, "White Spiders," is as turbocharged as any of the band's previous songs but there's a genuine creepiness underpinning the vocals and an underlying guitar part that gets unhinged during the bridge to drive the dread home. Later on, "Hey Shirley" sees the band slip into a much softer mode with barely audible drums and vocals that pull at you as even though it's unclear if the singer is trying to help the song's title character or if there's something darker going on.
And it keeps getting better. Looking for driving psychedelia? "The Prophecy" is all droned vocals about some mysterious and foreboding prophecy surrounded by a wash of cymbals and squalling guitars. Or head to the album's title track as it drives forward with base urgency before exploding into a lovely and heavy guitar and drum breakdown midway through, giving you just enough time to sway comfortably before that driving beat pops back in to shove you into the end of the song. And if this writer makes it sound like the band has reached some new level of musical maturity that's sucked the fun out of their music then just load up "Buttheads From Mars," whose entire lyrical content is variations of the song's title.
The album closes with this writer's current favorite track "San Francisco Dream," as it ties together most of the album's various elements into a single song; punk, rawk, psych, a touch of crimson and clover, and some truly fun call and response guitars, and arguably drummer Francis White's finest and varied drumming on the whole album. As its final note fades you find yourself wanting to flip the proverbial record over and land the needle in the first groove all over again. Telepathic doesn't change this writer's views on the band's previous work, but it certainly makes me look forward to what they're going to come up with next.
White Mystery are on tour but will be back in Chicago to play May 10 at The Hideout.