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Music Review

Jim White - No Such Place

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Luaka Bop – 2001 – 63 minutes

Jim White is a man of many talents – an ex-surfer, ex-model, ex-cab driver – and now he is also a maker of twisted, gothic country music. 'No Such Place' follows on from 'Wrong Eyed Jesus!', the collection of twisted Americana which White released in 1997, complete with a dark and atmospheric novella – The Mysterious Tale of How I Shouted "Wrong Eyed Jesus!" Four years later he is back, this storyteller with the cinematic vision, writing atmospheric tales of skewed love and life that get under your skin and refuse to leave you in peace.

The Wound That Never Heals is a chilling story of a woman who is on the run 'from the ghost of her father and five different uncles', leaving the bodies of several husbands in her wake. Foot-tapping stomping songs such as Handcuffed to a Fence in Mississippi and 10 Miles to go on a 9 Mile Road are more cheerful – or maybe it's just the way White looks at things: "Yeah, everything is peaches but the cream/I'm handcuffed to a fence in Mississippi/where things is always better than they seem." (Handcuffed to a Fence in Mississippi); "From the splinter in the hand, to the thorn in the heart, to the shotgun to the head, you got no choice but to learn to glean solace from pain or you'll end up cynical or dead" (10 Miles to go on a 9 Mile Road).

Interspersed with dreamy, spacey songs like The Wrong Kind of Love and The Love That Never Fails, 'No Such Place' is never predictable. The multi-textured soundscape is created from a combination of instruments, samples, scratching, and sirens, which add to the overall air of unease and eeriness that permeates the album. The thirteen songs have a total of five different producers – Morcheeba, Andrew Hale (Sweetback and Sade), Q-Burns Abstract Message, Sohichiro Suzuki (Yellow Magic Orchestra and World Standard) and Jim White himself – yet, despite the multitude of people involved, the album still manages to remain its cohesive 'trip-folk' feel.

Jim White is indeed the King of the Road – long may he reign.

Caroline Hennessy

Tracklisting: Handcuffed To A Fence In Mississippi - The Wound That Never Heals - Corvair - The Wrong Kind Of Love - 10 Miles To Go On A 9 Mile Road - Christmas Day - Bound To Forget - God Was Drunk When He Made Me - King Of The Road - Ghost-Town Of My Brain - Hey! You Going My Way??? - The Love That Never Fails - Corvair Reprise

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