Album review for “Winter” by Jack and White

In 2011, Jack Matranga and Brooke White met to record material for Brook’s new solo record. Instead, they partnered up and released their first EP titled, “Gemini.” Now, almost six months later, Jack and White have dropped their second EP, “Winter.”

The EP unfolds with “Night After Night;” For the first time, Jack Matranga takes the lead on vocals during the verses; his mid-tone range and White’s deep, almost raspy voice meld together wonderfully. Although the track is sprinkled with tinkling keys and tambourine, the lyrics are decidedly frosty and melancholy. Matranga and White sing, “You left your memory on the table, I tried to box it up and throw it away, but baby I wasn’t able.”

“Bright Side Of The Bad News” feels edgier and darker than previous material. The bridge reminded me a bit of Brooke’s second solo album, “High Hopes & Heartbreak;” it toes the line of sounding like a throwback song. While I don’t think it’s their best work, I can always appreciate an artist taking a risk and trying something new with their music.

“XYZ” is a real gem. The splash of country nuances on the dulcet guitars brings warmth and richness back into the EP. I found the lyrics very touching and relatable; Brooke sings, “The more I grow the less I know about XYZ, the world I see. Ups and downs they hang around like leaves on trees, the waves on the sea; that’s life.” The musical break during the bridge pays homage to bands like Fleetwood Mac and solidifies the track as a standout.

I’ve had the pleasure of listening to the fourth track, “Voices,” since December. It’s a dreamy, harmonious tune that captures the delicateness of winter. Brooke’s vocals sound top-notch and the arrangement is beautiful; I dare you to not get it stuck in your head!
The EP also includes a live version of “Telephone Games” (which first appeared on “Gemini.”). The duo sound even better live; the organic quality of the track definitely suits this genre of music.

Although the “Winter” EP is much shorter than I’d prefer, it definitely has me excited about this duo and all of the beautiful, charming music they’re going to put forth in the future. I know folky duos are pretty ubiquitous right now; you’ve heard one, you’ve heard them all, right? What I love about Jack and White is that they completely bypass the trendy aurora that plagues indie music and simply deliver the lovely, pick-me-up tunes that have become their trademark. Even when their inspiration is the coldest time of the year, Jack and White keep their music light and inviting!

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