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Album review: Matthew E White, Big Inner (Spacebomb)

Matthew E White set out to make a showcase for his Spacebomb studio-cum-label project, and ended up making an album that many are hailing a modern classic.

It's not quite that, mainly because White's own voice lacks the character to drive his songs, but Big Inner is a hugely impressive debut nonetheless. These seven songs in broadly country-soul style are adorned with lush, complex string and horn arrangements that recall Van Dyke Parks – there's the same breadth of antique influences in tracks such as "Hot Toddies" and the gospelly "Gone Away", while elsewhere the syncopated horns and layered harmonies of "Steady Pace" suggest that White's set-up, if applied to a more distinctive vocal presence, could produce something quite spectacular.

Download: Steady Pace; Hot Toddies; Brazos