John White – ”S/T”
(Last Visible Dog CD 2007)
From Aural Innovations #39 (May 2008)
Originating from Dunedin, New Zealand, John White plays in bands Mëstar, The Zoo Polluters and Sunsets on Acid. Last Visible Dog really seems to have something going on with New Zealand… Anyway, this CD combines in fact two different recordings - Mogwash and Balloon Adventure. The first eight tracks that make up Mogwash were recorded in Berlin in 2003 and feature Chris O’Connor on (very light) percussion on three tracks, Fran Mountforth on cello on the first track “Sailor’s Song” and also some piano accordion and backing vocals by guests. The rest of the 17 tracks were recorded in Dunedin in 2000, and also feature Alan Starret on viola, cello, delayed trumpet, piano and piano accordion. The main emphasis throughout the CD is on John’s soft voice and beautiful acoustic guitar, though.
John’s music is pure singer-songwriter stuff following the best traditions of the genre. He has a pleasant, playful, almost childlike atmosphere in his songs. Some of the tracks are quite melancholic and ballad-like, but there are also many positive, happy ones. I really like his intimate, touching voice. The CD is very peaceful and laid-back and very suitable for many occasions. I can even listen to it with my wife and small kids… The last track called “Instrumental” is an exception from the overall folky singer-songwriter style and takes actually one third of the over-an-hour-long album. It’s an experimental, floating ambient piece with lots of delay etc. and really stands out from the rest of the tracks. This is a very nice CD but maybe not really that exceptional or unique.
Check out the record label web site at: http://www.lastvisibledog.com
Reviewed by Santtu Laakso