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Whetherman - Bull Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9.5
Musicianship 6.75
Lyrics 8.5
Production 7.75
Creativity 7
Lasting Value 8.75
Reviewer Tilt 9.25
Final Verdict: 82%
Member Ratings
Vocals 10
Musicianship 10
Lyrics 10
Production 10
Creativity 10
Lasting Value 10
Reviewer Tilt 10
Average: 100%
Inside AP.net

Whetherman - Bull

Reviewed by: Steve Henderson (05/25/07)
Whetherman - Bull
Release Date: May 16, 2007
Record Label: Adorable Records


I'm not sure what it is about folk singers - if it is a rule or whatnot, but they all seem to outwardly wear signs of the struggles about which they sing. In turn, what we tend to end up with is a band of scraggly, trollish, oft-bearded artists - much easier on the ears than the eyes. So, when I went to Whetherman's myspace page a few months ago, and was treated to profile pictures of Nicholas Williams looking like some sort of Abercrombie catalog transplant, I was somewhat disheartened to think I might not be treated to the same level of world-weariness that I have come to expect from my singer/songwriters. However, one click of the play button was all it took to see how misplaced my assumptions were, as what followed was one of the most profound discoveries of young talent I have been exposed to in some time.

From the opening chords of Bull, there is one thing that is more likely than all others to grab the listener's attention, and that is the palpable vocal soul with which Williams delivers his tales. Much like Joss Stone or John Mayer, Williams has the type of voice that belies his age, race, and a host of other superficial factors. What we are left with, then, is an emotive exhibition across the record that never relents. From the longing melancholy of "Moon" to the heart-wrenching "Storm In Seattle," Williams' breathy croons leave the speakers with an abundance of emotion and conviction - the sort that renders his tracks instant classics finished with a true sense of timelessness. Likewise, tracks like "The Dove and the Doctor" prove an ability to accelerate the pulse of the songs, while still maintaining the lovelorn mood so artfully established prior.

Instrumentally, Whetherman's songs are decent - nothing really jumps out and tapdances on the listener's ear, which is both a positive and negative trait. While from a purist's standpoint, Bull could use some more standout riffs, at the same time, the minimalist strumming and piano notes are still plenty effective in their mission, which is to provide a pleasing undercurrent that yields to Williams' captivating vocals. The result is quite similar to the hierarchy seen on Sleeping at Last's Keep No Score, where just the right music is applied to highlight and bolster Ryan O'Neal's all-star delivery.

Overall, Whetherman's Bull is one hell of a debut release. With his exemplary vocal performance, Nick Williams will gain plenty of fans on that aspect of his cache alone. In the future, though, it would be ideal to see Whetherman a little less afraid to crack a smile, as it could be downright sublime to hear those pipes over a straight-forward rock anthem, or at least something a little less morose. Nevertheless, for the duration of Bull, the diversity issue is not a huge blemish, but more a minor detractor. In the end, this guy has an infinite amount of potential, and would fit right in with the VH1 "You Oughta Know" roster - not bad at all for a twenty-something kid with an acoustic guitar from the middle of Ohio.


Recommended if you like: John Mayer, Damien Rice, Ray Lamontagne, Rocky Votolato
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 15.
12:14 PM on 05/25/07
#2
Steve Henderson
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Stream the record:

http://www.purevolume.com/albums/whetherman/bull

Check out "Storm in Seattle" or "Moon" to see what this guy can do.
12:18 PM on 05/25/07
#3
jusscali
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Nice review stevie - I really like it. When's it due?
12:20 PM on 05/25/07
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Steve Henderson
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Nice review stevie - I really like it. When's it due?
Thanks amigo.

It is out now:
http://adorablerecords.bigcartel.com/product/bull
12:27 PM on 05/25/07
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jusscali
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12:49 PM on 05/25/07
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vandalroyale
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storms in seattle is great
01:31 PM on 05/25/07
#7
shoelaces
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reminds me a lot of ray lamontagne. good call on the "you oughta know" recommendation, i can see that being a very good fit.
04:17 PM on 05/25/07
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vandalroyale
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i'm addicted
06:46 PM on 05/25/07
#9
etrox318
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i like the dove and the doctor. i added it to my favorites on purevolume.

07:22 AM on 05/26/07
Praetor
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Another amazing review. I'm checking these guys out right now.
11:08 AM on 05/26/07
lalalie_
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Wow, they're really good. I'm impressed.
11:40 AM on 05/26/07
Steve Henderson
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Another amazing review. I'm checking these guys out right now.
Thanks!

Thoughts?
12:56 PM on 05/26/07
Praetor
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I was very impressed. Even though his album isn't streaming any longer, the three songs up (and the B-Side on his profile) pretty much blew me away. I've now got another album on my to-buy list.

PS: What'd you think of Circa?
01:06 PM on 05/26/07
Steve Henderson
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I was very impressed. Even though his album isn't streaming any longer, the three songs up (and the B-Side on his profile) pretty much blew me away. I've now got another album on my to-buy list.

PS: What'd you think of Circa?
At first I was kind of worried about it, but the more I listen to Circa, the more I find things to love in that record. Juturna was a grower for me, so I am trying to hold off on judgment until I can listen even more.

Early impression, though: vocals and production are absolutely amazing.
01:13 PM on 05/26/07
Praetor
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At first I was kind of worried about it, but the more I listen to Circa, the more I find things to love in that record. Juturna was a grower for me, so I am trying to hold off on judgment until I can listen even more.

Early impression, though: vocals and production are absolutely amazing.
If you replace 'production' with 'drums,' then you have my thoughts, pretty much word for word. I've spun it about six times since I've gotten it Thursday night, and each time, I pick up on new things.
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