Ode To Sentience

Emily Jane White

Antenna Farm Records, 2012


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Since 2007, Emily Jane White has been turning heads with her mystical brand of dark folk music and indie rock experimenting. It's not glamorous music, but it's music that she puts her heart and soul into, and it becomes the sort of song craft you turn to when the weight of the world feels as if it's falling upon your shoulders.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

On her third album Ode To Sentience, White draws from her vast resources to combine fingerpicked folk templates with classical and country music undertones, occasionally moving into rock territory. Though she is commonly thought of as a maker of sad, desperate music, there are some pleasant surprises to be found here.

On “Broken Words,” she employs a gorgeous pedal steel – a first to my knowledge in her catalog. “The Black Oak” is probably her most pop oriented song here, a curious, charming anomaly among the melancholic atmospheres. On the flipside, “The Preacher” is a very sparse, haunting track with repetitive, bitter wordplay. Though the album opens with “Oh, Katherine,” which showcases a weepy cello – par for the course for White – she then shows a lot of variety as the songs progress, opting to move in different directions from track to track. 

Lyrically, this is a very confessional outing. The characters in her stories often seem to be herself, and she often pleads, questions, and contemplates amid her hushed singing. It's pretty clear White has dealt with some relationship turmoil, and that comes through with her eloquent, often quivering delivery. The devil is referenced a couple times in her stories, and while it may seem out of place in a disc comprised of strings, pianos, and subdued instrumentation, it fits her dark themes and mysterious song craft well.

Rating: A

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© 2012 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Antenna Farm Records, and is used for informational purposes only.