Thomas White is no stranger to the music scene. He spent many years working with his brother, Alex White, in The Electric Soft Parade a project that showcased the brothers’ musical versatility. In addition to working with his brother, Thomas has explored solo work and other projects as well and now has expanded the force of his musical endeavors 5-fold from working with his brother and 10-fold from working alone. The Fiction Aisle is White’s latest project and is the work of 10 talented musicians.
Holly Maya Fitzgerald
The Fiction Aisle teased the world last year with the release of the single, “Blue” which included the original track and a fistful of remixes. Now the tease is over and you can enjoy a full 12 track record titled, Heart Map Rubric which opens with the team’s debut lick, “Blue.”
The record is lazy, subdued and patient from start to finish but despite the vocabulary I use to describe it, it’s far from dull. Every track is a sonic journey through jazz, alternative rock, lo-fi and lounge-core. Every track gives the band’s entire host of instruments a chance to shine. Every track blossoms with time, beginning simplistically, easy to digest then the layers of instruments develop thickly, and the innards of each track hold lovely surprises. For example, I thought I’d had “Sleep Tight” figured out until about 2:37 when the chord progression builds and nestles into a brief The Beatles-meet-Wilco interlude.
“Each and Every One” and “Fear” are pure and simple. They maintain their low key, lounge-core feel through the entire song while tracks like “What’s A Man To Do” and “The Colour of Morning” are more dynamic, they build up to heightened harmonies and layered instrumentals and fall gently back down, again and again. Then there’s the standalone, “Outskirts”, which to me is 6 minutes of100% alternative/indie soft rock, with no hints of jazz that decorate most of the other songs on the album. Then there’s the epic 8 minute, “The Sea Rolls on Forever.”
My favorite observation was when listening to “Love Come Save Me”, I heard something recognizable. The introduction of “Love Come Save Me” wreaks of Pulp’s track, “This is Hardcore” and it’s fantastic. The world needs a bit of reinvented Pulp and I was delighted when I heard a familiar trickling piano line.
Heart Map Rubric is record is a gem and I’m proud to have it sitting in my musical collection. The lyrics are simultaneously serious, comical, melancholic and celebratory describing love, lust, internal strife and reflection and they sit so very perfectly atop the rich and overflowing instrumentals.
The album is out now on Chord Orchard. You can buy it on iTunes, Bandcamp and Amazon now.