White Moth Black Butterfly – The Cost Of Dreaming: Album Review

White Moth Black Butterfly deliver an album that’s both an outpouring of love and a cry for help.

Release date: 28th May 2021

Label: Kscope

Format: CD / LP /DL

Daniel Tompkins dons the White Moth Black Butterfly cloak once more, heading deeper into areas where contemporary pop crosses swords with progressive and experimental music.

The Cost Of Dreaming comes courtesy of several collaborations. Hopping onboard are New Delhi-based Skyharbor songwriter and producer Keshav Dhar; US-based producer and string arranger Randy Slaugh who has previously worked with the likes of Devin Townsend, Architects & Periphery; drummer Mac Christensen and special guests including saxophonist Kenny Fong and The Contortionist’s keyboardist Eric Guenther. The lineup is completed by wonderfully ethereal vocals of UK singer & lyricist Jordan Turner.

The necessity to be self-produced, engineered and recorded remotely over three continents in various studios throughout the last year, results in an album that signals a sonic evolution in the bands’ output. Of course, the core White Moth Black Butterfly elements from previous outings are retained, so look out for those organic string sections and experimental, theme-linking interludes.

We’re informed that The Cost Of Dreaming occupies a space between peace and conflict within a life packed full of chaos. “Something we feel just about every human being on the planet that’s been affected by life-changing disruption will relate strongly to,” explains Mr Tompkins.

We know the feeling – the empathy box can be ticked confidently. Indeed there are strong themes throughout the album that will resonate with many people as he sings in the opening swathes of sound in Ether. From addressing the issue of the ongoing domestic abuse crisis and offering a way to signpost people toward support agencies, to the unexpected psychological upheavals brought about by events beyond our control.  The tracks come thick and fast in short sharp bursts as the sonic palette swivels from the subtle ambience on the likes of Sands Of Despair to the disturbing thuds and darker tones in Use You.

As an antidote to the opening welcome of Ether, Prayer For The Rain and Use You are built on a Numan-style starkness and industrial throbs and does Tompkins occasionally evoke a George Michael-styled emotional cry (and not for the only time)? The Dreamer, aside from providing further evidence that The Cost Of Dreaming is going to be a sensual experience, also highlights how Jordan Turner is a revelation on the album. Her vocal adapts perfectly beit alongside the lush washes or in the ominous and hypnotic rhythmic electronics and jazzy flourishes that come in Darker Days. Check out Portals and Soma for a classic example of the easy combination of the two voices and Under The Stars which is a gossamer fragile encounter of the mellower kind where Turner comes into her own.

Overall and despite some of the challenging lyrical direction, the impression is of a therapeutic experience. An otherworldly creation, far removed from the TesseracT intensity. In the finest tradition of closing the album with a biggie, and with a Sigur Ros-ness ethereal dreaminess about its intro, Spirits climaxes as the big production number. A stunning arrangement, with spirits rising (naturally) and angels all over the shop, it’s a most uplifting and beauteous piece.

And while we’re still in the flush of such an emotional crescendo, a final warning: “Life is surely a gift to us all throughout which we experience moments of soaring bliss and happiness, and then in a heartbeat sink into states of great trouble and suffering. Often our struggles can serve as momentous opportunities for growth, but the balance of life can often hold us back from seizing the day. ” Carpe diem Dan.

Here’s The Dreamer from the album:

White Moth Black Butterfly online: Facebook / Instagram / Bandcamp

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