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Thursday, March 15, 2001

Review - No Such Place

Artist: Jim White

Posted on Thu, Mar 15, 2001 at 4:00 AM

No Such Place
Label: Luaka Bop
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: No Such Place

Three years ago Jim White released the avant-acoustic "Wrong-Eyed Jesus!," an ethereal, backwoods junk yard of a record that shimmers and creeps at the same time. His follow-up, "No Such Place," loses some of the hubcap percussion in favor of moody, dense production by the likes of Morcheeba and home boy Q-Burns Abstract Message.

Like Tom Waits, White knows that a banjo can float lazily like snow flurries. And also like Waits, White writes evocative, disjointed lines packed with dreamlike images. ("Nothing's prettier than a pretty girl digging a heart-shaped hole in the ground," his distorted voice intones on "The Wrong Kind of Love.") On these lush, misty songs you scratch away one layer of sparklingly precise, country-flavored acoustic guitar and find a swamp of heavily produced dance-music beats.

While "The Wound That Never Heals" and "10 Miles to Go on a 9 Mile Road" are locked a little too determinedly on radio airplay, White does fabulous things by contrasting muddy decay with shiny clarity. At times, "No Such Place" stretches to the horizon like gorgeous fog.

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