Whitmore expands soul with new album

Daniel R. Doherty

Switch to ANTI-label brings angst

“Animals In The Dark,” William Elliott Whitmore’s first album on ANTI- Records, is a dynamic reach outside of Whitmore’s comfort zone – and by no means is this a bad thing.

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Animals in the Dark

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Stater rating (out of five): ★★★★★

Whitmore, who released three albums on Southern Records before making the jump to ANTI-, has taken bold strides with “Animals In The Dark,” infusing hip-hop sampling with traditional folk rock.

In this album, the soulful deep-blues vocalist has taken a more political trip compared to his previous angst-filled albums. To call this a strictly political album would not completely define it, but several songs go straight to the heart of the country’s troubles. This rebellious nature is most recognizable with “Old Devils,” where the album’s title derives from “crooked politicians with nefarious schemes.”

The album’s lead single, “Mutiny,” clearly shows Whitmore’s disdain for the country’s leadership with a sampling of “The Roof Is On Fire” from Rock Master Scott & the Dynamic Three’s 1984 hit record.

He adds the lyrics, “I said he don’t need to water, well let the motherfucker burn” to the end after his strong vocals of “I want to send him back to where he came . Not to mercy no, but to burnin’ flame,” aligning himself with the protest-ridden musicians of history.

He bares his down-and-out soul by howling throughout this record, as it fuels the album’s fire with personal angst tracks. One such track is “Hard Times,” where he expresses his feelings for his past, including his railroad-working father and how he had to work in less-than-ideal situations to make it through the daily grind.

By infusing his personal life into his songs, it shows he isn’t afraid to bare his soul to his audience – showing that no matter the instance, misfortune, greed, love and pain, it can infuse our souls at any age.

The amount of passion Whitmore puts into his songs is clearly portrayed throughout this album; however, an ability to see him baring his soul in a small venue is how it comes across clearest. The tattooed, 30-year-old soul of Whitmore sits bellowing out his lyrics alongside his five-string banjo asking for nothing more than cheap whiskey and some smokes, leaving you truly understanding the focused mind of an angst-ridden musician.

Contact all correspondent Daniel R. Doherty at [email protected].