Atone by White Moth Black ButterflyRelease date: September 1, 2017
Despite being best known for his work with TesseracT, Dan Tompkins isn’t someone who sits on his hands between album cycles and his side projects happen as multi-tonal as his instantly recognisable vocal will allow. From the retro-wave ZETA to his work with Indian tech metallers Skyharbor people could be forgiven for forgetting about White Moth Black Butterfly. Well they’re back and with a second full length in tow no less.
Reuniting with previous collaborators Keshav Dhar and co-vocalist Jordan Turner and adding in Randy Slaugh on keys and drummer Mac Christensen, the four piece have constructed something that is by no means a metal record, or even rock. Atone is at its core a pop record with an attention to detail that comes from the likes of London Grammar or Of Monsters & Men and with obvious nods to the likes of Massive Attack and Sigur Rós, this combination of fluid songwriting and emotional depth is everything I’d ever want from a pop record.
This gentle collection of songs is an album designed for pure indulgence, a mix of down tempo chill out offerings that utilise every aspect of the band’s respective skill sets all smoothed out with a crystalline production that sets off the very organic sounding orchestrations beautifully.
Tracks like ‘Tempest’ and ‘An Ocean Away’ explore the combined textures of both vocalists with an unwavering focus on nuanced performances that border on becoming a masterclass in vocal delivery at even the theoretical level. Whilst the focus here is quite obviously the magnificent vocals that both vocalists have, it’s in in the multifaceted and well textured instrumentals where White Moth Black Butterfly truly endeavour to expand Atone from being simply a well put together pop album but into something that adds texture, dynamics and swelling soundscapes.
White Moth Black Butterfly may be only a fleeting concept but their signing to Kscope leaves hope that material will metamorphose in the future. Take some time with Atone, listen to it undistracted and preferably in a darkened room. You’ll find yourself carried to a world that is both healing and tranquil as these sounds wash over you.