14.99 In Stock
Chris Whitley has always been aware that there's potentially as much peril in holding a lover close as there is in holding a gun to your head -- a notion he explores to great effect on this hypnotically harrowing disc. Much like Whitley's 2003 outing, Hotel Vast Horizon, Soft Dangerous Shores interlaces dark folk-blues melodies with ominously hovering atmospherics, the latter largely contributed by producer/keyboardist Malcolm Burn. But while the disc's sonic tenor is certainly impressive, it's Whitley who steals the show with his simultaneously erotic and desperate performances -- which come to a head on the epic "City of Women," a song that finds him slipping from his usual low moan into a striking falsetto, all the better to eke another dose of sensuality from the cold, cold heart of a lover. He brings a similar tone to "Her Furious Angels" -- a song that originally appeared on 2004's War Crime Blues, but one that (to use his own description) gets "the Marvin Gaye treatment" here, complete with purring voice and pulsing bass. As is his wont, Whitley borrows from a number of unexpected sources here, building the title track around snippets of an André Breton poem of the same name, underscoring the piece's longing with a humid blanket of sound anchored by his plaintive whispers. Soft Dangerous Shores doesn't offer a happy ending -- it doesn't promise closure of any sort, in fact -- but it's a compelling journey nonetheless, especially for those fond of traveling without a road map.