William Elliott Whitmore - Animals In The Dark
There is always something so soothing and captivating about the sound of a whiskey soaked baritone voice, and William Elliott Whitmore is no exception. Singing over guitar and banjo, Whitmore creates a mixed landscape consisting of folk, alt-country and blues infusions, all of which culminate into a solid effort on Animals in the Dark, his fifth release.
The records most prevalent recurring theme is directed at authority figures and their abuse of their power. The opening track ‘Mutiny,’ though not quite as lyrically affecting as some of the record’s subsequent examples, is a politically fueled protest against the state of affairs in America, presumably surrounding the previous administration. A fun start to the record, it’s hard not to like the percussion-driven track, especially with the repeating protest chant “he don’t need no water / well let the mother fucker burn” that draws the song to a close. That aside, the straight up acoustic blues number ‘Johnny Law’ tells the story of a man unjustly thrown in prison by a power-hungry officer of the law, and the simple, two-chord “Old Devils” is another political protest song. And in case you can’t figure out exactly who Whitmore is talking about, he’s happy to explain it in the song; “When I say devils you know who I mean / malicious politicians with nefarious schemes, charlatans and crooked cops.”
Animals in the Dark is hardly completely political however. Tracks like ‘Hard Times’ and ‘Lifetime Underground’ are two prime examples of songs that are a little bit closer to home, telling some of Whitmore’s own stories. Both are fine additions to the album, giving it a degree of balance it might otherwise lack if it followed a singular theme.
Looked at broadly, Animals in the Dark is simple, straightforward and yet has the effect of being instantly appealing. Whitmore establishes your interest immediately and is able to maintain it consistently throughout the record. A strong effort from a deserving artist.
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