Minus the shock of the new, Matthew E White does not disappoint. Back in 2012, Big Inner, the Virginian arranger-cum-studio owner’s country-soul debut album, announced a major new talent whose muffled singing style was wedded to sinuous grooves and celestial horns and brass. Fresh Blood refines the Spacebomb MO, darkening themes and expanding their range, with love songs to music (Rock & Roll is Cold), the late Philip Seymour Hoffman (Tranquility) and emotive tracks such as Holy Moly, a sensitive, Marvin Gaye-referencing reaction to child sex abuse in the Catholic church.
Kitty Empire is the Observer's pop critic. She has written for NME and occasionally crops up on Radio 4, 5Live, BBC 6Music, and has appeared on BBC2's The Culture Show and Newsnight Review. @kittyempire666