Most Luminous Source of Reflected Glory

Critics' Pick

  • Ash Daniel
“Glowing” doesn’t seem a strong enough description for the international critical success of Matthew E. White. Since his debut, “Big Inner,” was picked up for distribution in the UK by Domino Records, reviews have poured down like sunshine. The Observer called the record “a burnished … masterpiece.” The Guardian says “it feels like a genuine revelation.” A brief UK tour in January was extended for a festival in Switzerland; gigs in April took him through Paris, Berlin and Milan; and this summer takes him to the prestigious Sydney Opera House. Sure, it’s a great, deep, multilayered record, but it is still a pleasant shock to hear the unassuming and familiar White casually compared by strangers to Randy Newman, Otis Redding, Stax and Motown. “Big Inner’s” huge sound — with arrangements for strings, chorus and a horn section — is a communal effort focused through a singular vision. And with White paying homage to the Richmond scene at every stop on the world stage, not to mention his positive message, the city couldn’t have a better avatar.
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