White Limousine

White Limousine

by Duncan Sheik
5.0 1


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White Limousine

Over five recordings, Duncan Sheik has proved himself to be an unhurried, yet restless artist. He's continually experimented with production, texture, instrumentation, and style. No two of his offerings sound alike. The only constant has been his dogged attention to detail and craft in songwriting; it's always tight, precise, and graceful. White Limousine is his first outing in three-and-a-half years, and his first for the Rounder subsidiary Zoe. It's as far from 2002's Daylight as that one was from 2001's Phantom Moon. Sheik's studio band has been augmented here by the strings of the London Session Orchestra on about half of the album's 12 cuts. These songs are haunted, much as those on Phantom Moon were, but in a different way. The production weight of Nick Drake's ghost (this time more Bryter Layter) is still present here, but it's less obvious. It's more as if Drake were produced by David Axelrod than Joe Boyd. His songs sometimes turn outward, toward paradoxical people, objects, and situations found in everyday life here -- though there are plenty of broken love songs too. The opener, "Hey Casanova," offers Sheik's band surrounding his piano and voice, as he speaks firmly yet empathically to a worn-out Lothario who refuses to find gratitude in what he possesses. He indicts him (gently) for "living up to your own worst cases." Rock and classic pop -- à la early Billy Joel -- meld nicely as the tune's dynamics ebb and flow. On "The Dawn's Request" the strings make their first appearance. Sheik effortlessly becomes the narrator of personal breakdown and trauma; the singer craves redemption from his emotional malady; he is buoyed by distorted guitars and an oceanic swell from the strings. This is the terrain Rufus Wainwright wishes he could master. Sheik looks at the consumer life in the lavishly decorated "Shopping," and the doleful perception of celebrity life in the rocking title track. The spare "I Don't Believe in Ghosts," with its minimal lyric, shimmering Fender Rhodes, and hammered dulcimer, illustrates the protagonist's deep loneliness. Sheik's songwriting is utterly observant and canny; it looks at his subjects inside-out, as he paints them with bare patches left visible. His choice of instrumentation doesn't carry these songs to the listener as much as invite her in to listen closely. The set closes with "Hymn." Guitars float and dip around Sheik's voice as a chorus of backing vocals (his own) asserts the lyric in hushed tones. The strings shift and sway, entering with a gradual force and sit in taut juxtaposition to the rock quartet that carries the song itself. White Limousine is a remarkable record; it may give up its secrets slowly, yet it's utterly seductive. The listener will be struck by its aesthetic beauty before she can even begin to take in the dark, poetic lyricism Sheik employs in spades. (The initial pressing of White Limousine carries an extra DVD in the package that allows listeners to create their own mixes of the songs found here.)

Product Details

Release Date: 01/24/2006
Label: Zoe Records
UPC: 0601143108624
catalogNumber: 431086
Rank: 143381

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Duncan Sheik   Primary Artist,Organ,Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Accordion,Electric Guitar,Tambourine,Vocals,Background Vocals,12-string Guitar,Hammered Dulcimer,fender rhodes,Wurlitzer,Guitar (Nylon String),Guitar (Baritone)
London Session Orchestra   Strings
Martin Loveday   Cello
Rita Manning   Violin
Cathy Thompson   Violin
Gavyn Wright   Violin
Gerry Leonard   Electric Guitar
Jay Bellerose   Percussion,Drums,Guest Appearance
Mary Scully   Bass
Ben Chappell   Cello
Peter Lale   Viola
Patrick Kiernan   Violin
Boguslaw Kostecki   Violin
Bruce White   Viola
David Poe   Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony,Guest Appearance
David Daniels [cello]   Cello
Julian Leaper   Violin
Gary Leonard   Electric Guitar
Perry Mason   Violin
Rachel Bolt   Viola
Warren Zielinski   Violin
Gustav Clarkson   Viola
Fil Krohnengold   Background Vocals,fender rhodes
Doug Yowell   Drums
Peter Hanson   Violin
Jeff Allen   Electric Bass,Bass Guitar,Synthesizer Bass

Technical Credits

Kevin Killen   Engineer
Duncan Sheik   Composer,Producer,Audio Production,Loop
Gavyn Wright   Orchestra Leader
Gerry Leonard   Engineer
Simon Hale   Arranger
Mike Tudor   Engineer
Gary Leonard   Loop
Sarit Melmed   Illustrations
Bob Hale   String Arrangements,String Conductor
Craig Perkins   Engineer

Customer Reviews

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White Limousine 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I went to see Duncan perform here in NYC. He was promoting his new album. I was really hesitant about buying it. After he was done with his set, I fought my way out of the crowd and bought the cd. The review written here is really good. I mean the string arrangements on the songs are beautiful, and haunting. The lyrics are simple, but leave you thinking. He found a good balance between "Phantom Moon" and "Daylight". After I bought the cd, I was able to get it signed. It's hard to pick a favorite out of all the songs. Duncan Sheik just gets better and better.