White Summer 1976 / Out-Sider 2016
White album from Michigan trio who verged to the edge of big time but never made it to the other side.
A bar band who gained appraisal from Eric Clapton and Neil Young, this Benton Harbor collective enjoyed a long lifespan, playing from 1973 to 1990, and released a few albums, yet deals with the majors were called off at the eleventh hour – which didn’t prevent the group from carrying on cranking it up to 11. Their self-titled debut – issued when the musicians, friends from elementary school days, were only 21 – is a good testament to the trio’s intentions, a soft, folksy opener “Without A Sound” baring their humorous streak, one given the heaviness in “Misty Morning” where riffs thrive.
There are vestiges of psychedelia in the likes of “The Tank” yet these are contrasted with a fantastic slab of funk that is “BMF” as Rick Lowe’s guitar rages to the tribal groove of Jim Watkins’ drums and David Wheeler’s bass, while all three stack vocal harmonies up high. They get deceptively simplistic in the lightly rocking “For Your Smile” – only to explore the bluesy gloom in “Laugh When I Die” and take the drama to “Omega” whose epic shifts allow the band’s instrumental prowess shine in the dark. A potent portent of things to come: further investigation feels inevitable after this one.