White Russia - 'O Jersusalem' (UK Release: 28 Nov '11) // Words: Jack Thomson
I was first introduced to White Russia, an alternative electronic duo from London, in the early part of 2010. Otherwise known as Benjamin Bufton and Marina Elderton, and combining Elderton’s haunting ethereal vocals with Bufton’s fuzzy winding industrial production, White Russia’s sound represents a crossroad between something organic and something mechanical. Having only released two videos thus far, 'O Jerusalem' is the band’s first audio release to date.
Layered harmonies weave images of impending apocalypse with dark overdriven synths and uncompromising bass lines, making for a not always comfortable sensory experience. To say they are something special is quite the understatement. They are the sort of band that come around once in a blue moon and when listening to their songs, encourage the hairs on the back of your neck to stand on end.
'O Jerusalem' is an 11 track album and one that deserves to be listened to from start to finish with no interruptions. It has the feel of a real body of work that has taken time to construct and develop which can’t be said for too many albums in today’s fast paced music market.
Album opener 'The Solution' begins with Marina almost whispering vocals over a low, doom-laden synth that slowly grows, getting louder and louder until the track bursts into focus full of energy and vigor. During the break down, Elderton’s vocals are left at the forefront of the track and sound similar in power to Florence Welch. The track is then followed by one of two instrumental interludes that provide nice breaks to the densely layered tracks surrounding them.
'Charmless State' opens in a similar fashion to 'The Solution' in that it’s Elderton’s vocal over a very sinister chiming before the track drops with earth shattering bass. Think Massive Attack meets Bjork. The video was directed by Lee Mangan and selected for the London Independent Film Festival 2010 music video category.
'Butcher The Innocent View' is a far less aggressive track and truly shows off Marina’s ability to write poignant, thought provoking lyrics. It is her raw vocal against distant, soothing keyboards. 'China Heart' shows a more conventional and commercial side to the band with its 80s synth-pop sound.
My personal favorite on the album is closer 'O Jerusalem', clocking in at a powerful 9:23. From start to finish the track grows and grows into the most spacious, hypnotic sound, really drawing the listener into White Russia’s world of distorted bass and beautiful, atmospheric vocals.
There are clearly influences throughout the whole album from Fever Ray, Bjork, Zola Jesus and the like, but something about their uncompromising style puts them above this. The record is a true masterpiece and one that will be on loop on my iPod for the foreseeable future.
STREAM: The Solution by White Russia
"EXCLUSIVE" FREE DOWNLOAD White Russia - The Solution (Ambi-Remix) by fadedglamourblog
We're lucky enough to be premiering the above remix. 'O Jerusalem' is out on independent label L’AGENDA Records and can be purchased from iTunes, Amazon.co.uk etc.