Soft Dangerous Shores
First Appeared in The Music Box, August 2005, Volume 12, #8
Written by John Metzger
If there’s one thing that has remained consistent about Chris Whitley, it’s that his albums are genuinely unpredictable. On his latest effort Soft Dangerous Shores, the veteran blues artist digs even deeper into the ambient darkness that saturated Hotel Vast Horizon, but spurred by his reunion with producer Malcolm Burn, the resulting endeavor is far more satisfying. In meshing the impressionistic patterns of droning Delta blues with the ethereal wisps of electronic experimentation, Whitley essentially crosses Brian Eno with John Lee Hooker to create an overwhelmingly heady brew of claustrophobic delirium. Awash in skittering rhythms and swirling keyboard textures, his new batch of songs exudes a seductively transfixing air that frequently recalls a 21st Century incarnation of Jimi Hendrix. Too often, Whitley’s innovative and uncompromising approach to making music has culminated in material that is less than stellar. In the case of Soft Dangerous Shores, however, he succeeds in crafting an affair that challenges his fans without pushing them away. ½
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2005 The Music Box