THOMAS WHITE ALBUM REVIEW: YALLA!

THOMAS WHITE – YALLA!

Listen to the album on Youtube

TW October 2010 (Blog Post) “it sounds stupid/clever, embarrassing/glorious, drunk/lucid, big/small, plaintive/overwrought, dour/ecstatic, tight/shambolic and just about everything else in between”

Taken from a blog, not from the press release because there isn’t one. The album isn’t out on any label instead it’s available on youtube for your listening pleasure, for the moment at least.

Yalla! is totally acoustic with lots of space for expression…

The songs are illustrated with footage, from simple takes to more indepth edits and starts with scenes from Hove Park.

All The Fallen Leaves reminisces about home while baking in the Egyptian sunshine;

Took a trip out to see a friend, don’t even know if I’ll be back again
The sun beats down, on desert ground and fallen leaves

Images of both places are juxtaposed;

I miss Brighton town, cold wet and brown, all the fallen leaves…

Footage of stark, naked trees gently interweaves to the sound of lilting guitar resulting in a haunting portrayal of raw emotion. The lyrics are almost taken from the back of a postcard to anyone who cares to listen.

Once you get this stuck on repeat, you’re lost in the imagery. There’s so much more of that to come…

I’ll See Her Again is also full of yearning, this time for a love from years gone by. Tender vocals, chiming folk guitar decorated with pretty verse.

I met a girl from Western Isles, I’ll see her again
She made me happy as a child, I’ll see her again…
My heart burns, I pine for her return

Senses are heightened as That Heavy Sunshine Sound increases the tempo and sense of urgency. All set against a sunshine haze and the sound of afternoon prayer. The lyrics flow effortlessly…

I am a boy with a crush on a girl who is out of my league and is certainly out of this world
Dreaming of her every night, every day and I’m out of my mind thinking I wanna see her again

Such a beautiful love song until the realisation;

I’ve been here before and I know that it’s all going to find me alone
You were the one and I’ve gone and lost the one
If I could I’d be strong about it but I’m just gone, I’m just gone

The video footage leaves Cairo behind for sparkling sunshine on water in Ocean Green Egyptian musical influences that have been gradually building reach a peak on this song, continuing on Dreamt I Dwelt In Marble Halls. Thomas White has fallen in love with the place and has many stories left to tell; this time one of regret.

Since writing the above more information emerged via Wikipedia

On March 26th 2011, Thomas streamed his third solo album for free via YouTube. Entitled ‘Yalla!” (Egyptian for ‘come here’ or ‘follow me’) the album was written and recorded over two weeks in the small town of Dahab, South Sinai. Featuring only acoustic guitar and vocal, the album details the limbo at the end of a long relationship compared to that of moving to a foreign country, making myriad references to the sea, shorelines, water, the sun, colours, the weather, travel and nature. All accompanying videos feature footage taken in Brighton, Dahab and Cairo. There is no date confirmed for a physical release of the album.

Dreamt I Dwelt In Marble Halls has maybe the darkest emotional content illustrated with split second clips of colourful beach huts as if to lessen the pain. I think the trip to Egypt may have done just that in itself. Without it, the new Thomas White album could have been very different.

Losing himself in his thoughts and the heat has resulted in a cathartic experience. There’s no crypticism here, instead telling it like it is. Almost too personal to review but the update above enlightens the listener to the simmering undertone of the album.

Lungful Of Air …literally that. A release of pent up emotion/being able to breathe. Just one of many lyrical lines throughout the song snatched from abstract memories and feelings. Those are the mental images you see as you listen, even though the video is a slow journey along the street, finally arriving to a halt. Where next?

King Of The Kingdom The video footage takes us back home to blue sky and self introspection.

Put me in a box and told me, find a way out, I just can’t figure how…

Out of his mind on pure vocal lubrication… the lyrics an alcohol fuelled slur.

Brings back memories of some of the live from Dahab radio shows last year, with Thomas slowly becoming more inebriated as the night went on. I suddenly feel drawn back to that time. The experience truly was like entering another world for a few hours. Typing snatches of Lyrics to find song titles and look up videos later.

The desperation hardly disguised:

Everybody’s hungry for something… I’m hungry for freedom, from all the ties that bind the life of the little guy and the king of the kingdom

And here it is, at last: I’ve Seen The Sunrise

The morning after the song before; there’s a very definite reason for the tracklist order. Everything is building up to this moment of clarity when things make sense again. The video transports the viewer to the very time and place it happened. At last calmness descends as the lyrics attest:

I’ve seen the best times, I’ve seen the worst kind, I’ve seen the sunrise, I’ve seen the darkest night
Don’t wanna go back there, to that bad place, I live in the light now, don’t ever wanna change

The words float over lightly strummed guitar as naturally as a boat on the ocean.

Intoxicated – this time by the sunshine – a moment of pure pop perfection.

Diver’s Torch The musical mood switches to melancholy with choiral vocals set to footage including a majestic church – continuing the feeling of peace from the previous song. The images chosen represent the song perfectly; looking for the same emotions awakened in Egypt back home.

The footage really helps to bring perspective to the songs; speeded up to represent the fast pace of Cairo or slowed right down to portray the stillness of Hove Park.

Completing the album Awaiting The Sunflower is almost seven minutes of indulgence… delicate guitar notes backed with ethereal echo.

Yalla! is his most mature album yet. After reading the blog at the start I couldn’t imagine what it would sound like… and without swallowing a dictionary I’ve tried to express the effect it had on me. The listener is most definitely taken on a journey they never expected and left with a very lasting impression.