Hailing from Wilmington, NC, Thom Kunz & Whitney Pearsall's recent release Stars in the Black and Blue mixes folk, rock and country with an ethereal quality. It’s not that surprising when you take a glance at the cover art which I presume is Thom Kunz & Whitney Pearsall staring at the most epic view of space.
Stars in the Black and Blue is a concept album. According to the band, “One side’s songs focuses on relationships — family and friends and the good and the bad therein, and Side B is a narrative called “The Black & Blue Suite,” which explores the emotional inner space colliding with the unexplained outer space, sort of romantic love beyond the world we know, or think we know.” The dichotomy isn’t all that obvious if you weren’t told and I think that works in their favor. Any way you cut it there is no denying that the album has a cohesive feel to all ten songs.
I’m not sure exactly how all the musical duties were split up but Pearsall handles the vocal duties. You won’t be disappointed. She has a powerful voice which reminded me of a couple of female singers from the ’70s. Stevie Nicks came to mind.
The band opens with “Perfectly Shattered” which immediately goes for epic. It’s a song that slowly builds and builds with intensity. Synths swirl, organs ring and much more as the song progresses.
Up next is “Cold Moon” which is also quite big sounding while also interweaving a country vibe. The formula of starting off small and building to something huge remans for a majority of the songs. “On Your Side,” “Veins Of Stone” and “Stars in the Black and Blue” all lead to crescendos towards the end of the song. Luckily, the duo throws in a song like “Gentle Breeze” which adds to the band's versatility. I also appreciated the atmospheric track “The Apastron Reprise.”
Overall, Stars in the Black and Blue contains lush, expansive instrumentation and top notch vocal work. As I mentioned the songs are pretty epic and certainly seem to have a time and place. Perhaps staring at the stars on a clear night.
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