White Sky

Sometimes it takes complicated methods to arrive at simple pleasures...

Sometimes it takes complicated methods to arrive at simple pleasures. A member of Chicago’s The Sea And Cake (and former member of The Coctails), [a]Archer Prewitt[/a] also takes time out to tour with mates’ bands and to record his own solo albums.

For ‘White Sky‘, his second, he has recruited members of The Mekons, Poi Dog Pondering and The Chicago Jazz Ensemble to construct tremendously lush soundscapes that still feel bleached and direct. It’s some feat.

From the plaintive flute solo at the opening of ‘Summer’s End‘ to ‘Raise On High”s shivery wash of brass, every note is prudent and precise. Prewitt abandons the eclectic experimentalism of The Sea And Cake in favour of more traditional songwriting, throwing classical shapes in ‘Final Season‘ and coming over all Don McLean in ‘I’ll Be Waiting‘. There’s an undercurrent of peaceful introspection running through each of these songs, all of which – either explicitly or figuratively – conjure up the fading light and chill evenings of late summer.

White Sky”s only weakness is its own wilful inconspicuousness. Only nine songs of quiet and unambitiously perfect pop music, so understated they seem destined to be buried beneath stacks of books or kicked under a bed. And although Prewitt himself probably wouldn’t mind if this record went unheard, it would be a terrible shame. All that effort for so small a prize.