CD Reviews

White Widdow - 'Serenade' Hot

Added by James Gaden     August 23, 2011    
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If you liked the first album then you will absolutely love ‘Serenade’...

Those of you with long memories may recall that when I reviewed White Widdow’s debut album I finished with the words ‘White Widdow for Firefest 2011 anyone?’  Naturally I’m over the moon that my wishes have been granted, and barely a year after that stunning debut, sophomore release ‘Serenade’ is upon us, to perfectly coincide with this year’s festival.  And it seems that that old ‘difficult second album’ syndrome has not been a problem at all, because this is quite simply as good as it gets.
Musically the album pretty much starts off where the debut finished, but the first thing that’s apparent as ‘Cry Wolf’ kicks things off is the big production and HUGE drum sound.  Grand Design main-man Palle Saether has been enlisted to master the album, and his influence is all over it, such as the big backing vocals and Def Leppard-isms, particularly evident on the ‘Hysteria’ sound-alike ‘Do You Remember.’  There are plenty of commercial, radio-friendly anthems such as ‘Strangers In The Night’, ‘Reckless Nights’ and ‘Serenade’, while ‘Show Your Cards’ and ‘Mistake’ have a pomp-rock edge that demonstrate more diversity in the structuring of the songs, confirming that White Widdow have the confidence to mature with each ensuing album.  ‘Patiently’ is a big lighter-in-the-air ballad that ticks all the right boxes, and my favourite of all is the incredible melodic anthem ‘How Far I Run’, I have to say that this is one of the biggest and best choruses you are likely to hear this year, utterly fantastic!

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What I really like about this band is that although they are producing music that is highly influenced by the eighties, it doesn’t sound at all contrived, it all seems very natural.  Keyboards are a big part of the Widdow sound, but unlike other bands of this ilk they complement the music rather than smother it.  Keyboardist Xavier Millis and supremely talented guitarist Enzo Almanzi have forged a very creative partnership, highly reminiscent of Journey’s Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain, while Jules Millis is the true heart and soul of the band, his energetic vocal delivery reminds me a little of Ted Poley, and incidentally he is one of the nicest guys you could ever meet.
If you liked the first album then you will absolutely love ‘Serenade’, it is surely destined to be high up in many people’s ‘Best Of 2011’ lists, this band will get better and better, and deserve all the plaudits this album will bring.  White Widdow for Firefest 2012 but higher-up-the-bill, anyone?!
Ant Heeks
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