There’s a particular fascination with going through used CD racks and looking for slim-line jewel cases thrown haphazardly around. Granted, this tends to be restricted to those who spend about a dozen times the amount required to buy the entire contents of the Spin Magazine vending machine on imported, musical goodies. But hey, it’s like being a kid in a candy store because you can find all sorts of things stashed away in musty corners of alterna-record stores.
Case in point: Whiteout’s 1995 EP. Signed to the same label that had The Stone Roses in a choke-hold, Whiteout broke free of the label to release an album on YoYo Records in 1998. Since then, they appear to have crawled under some sort of musical rock.
While ’98’s The Big Wow was touted by many like NME to be tediously driven to throwing itself off the same cliff as those it was trying to imitate from the ’60s and ’70s, the Maximum Whiteout EP stands in defense of its creators. Not that they’re not living in the past (like half of the indie rockers out there today, those under and flying high over the proverbial musical rock, mind you), but instead, here they craft the sparkling, if derivative, strains of a lullaby. With an acoustic guitar melody that doesn’t overreach and vocals that tangibly caress, Whiteout lay out the complete opposite of the funky, bluesy contraptions for which they seem to be journalistically documented. The feelings “Sleep Talking” inspires worm their way into your brain and refuse to leave such that you have to replay the song repeatedly for fear that you might lose that slice of peace.
If Oasis (with whom the Whiteout once toured) could write sweet tunes like this instead of…er, “Little James,” the Gallagher kids just might have more songs of which to be proud rather than about which to be insolent in the future.
If “Sleep Talking” is any hint of what Whiteout are/were capable, it’s not all that bad to be living in the past and wearing polyester or parkas in 80-degree heat.
Scottish Music Network May 2000