Jun 2011 15

Cover Image
Whatley & Stone
Category: Electronica / Gothic
Album: Woven
Stars: 3
Blurb: With an understated musical element that might be better refined, the debut offering of Whatley & Stone highlights vocal gems that deserve attention.


Taking notes from artists Goldfrapp, Röyksopp, or even the likes of female-vocal driven Massive Attack, Whatley & Stone embark on their own path of studio electronica with the debut release, Woven. Graceful and elegant, Gina Stone’s vocals fill each song so much that it’s easy to get lost in a haze of despair and wonder. She possesses a rich soulfulness with a tonality and pitch range that simply enhances the music of each song she touches on. Matt Whatley holds his own quite well matching up with his instrumental contributions. The down-tempo delivery of keyboard electronica and studio musicianship on the part of both band members is compelling throughout the album, working remarkably well when combined with the vocals. The final production, however, may have been a bit more fine-tuned and polished upon listening intently with a set of headphones. It’s not to say that the overall sound isn’t enjoyable to a great degree – it’s simply that more post-production work might have elevated this album beyond that of a first effort album.

“Pulse” sets the stage for the essential layout for the rest of the album; low-key but fraught with beautifully arranged pseudo-gothic vocals. This pace continues steadily down a slope of moody entries, flowing somberly along yet always drawing the listener in. Stone’s vocal presence carries each track to heightened levels of pitch, harmonizing with her own voice and countering the musicianship without falter. She is as at home with a microphone, it seems, as a duck is to water. The haunting refrain of “I Am Ghost” resonates with the backing music in an elegant combination that is as eerie as it is engrossing. “Drowning” takes you in with its wonderful melancholy rhythm and bittersweet cry-for-help lyrics. Songs such as “Rain” and “Dark Angel, Black Heart” again exemplify the sorrowful component in the music that both she and Whatley have forged for themselves. While Stone is arguably the most imperative addition to the duo, the musical backdrop that both she and Whatley have forged together maintain as a pillar for the album.

Sweet and subtly ending the album is the track “Sleepwalking,” a song whose haunting choral waves literally take you into a mind-lull, finishing the album with a darkly sweet whisper, not weak by any sense of the word. Encapsulated on Woven is a string of songs that remain consistent in their lackadaisical delivery, enriched with elements of old-school down-tempo fashion. Barring any further production remissions you may find, this is still an album that will engross you enough to put it back into ‘repeat’ mode more than once.


Track list:

  1. Pulse
  2. Moonchild
  3. I Cry, You Lie
  4. I Am Ghost
  5. Take Me to Heaven
  6. It’s Just an Illusion
  7. Drowning
  8. Rain
  9. Mirror, Mirror
  10. Dark Angel, Black Heart
  11. Shine My Light
  12. Haunted
  13. Sleepwalking


Whatley & Stone MySpace http://www.myspace.com/whatleyandstone
Whatley & Stone Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Whatley-Stone/62280466233
Whatley & Stone ReverbNation http://www.reverbnation.com/whatleystone


Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3




Stephen Lussier (ioweyouacoke)

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