White Willow
Signal to Noise

The liner notes on this record promise crossover appeal to prog, goth and metal fans. I hear the prog, I hear the goth, but I don’t hear the metal. In truth, I don’t really hear much interesting, either.

The band formed as a folk rock band in the mid-1990s and evolved into a progressive rock band, being called “the Mazzy Star of prog” for what it’s worth. They do have one thing in common with Mazzy Star, for sure. I can’t stand either of them.

At any rate, Signal to Noise, for me, is nine tracks of snooze-inducing something or other. There is an occasional nice moment that catches my attention, like the opening lead and jazzy movements of “Ghosts,” which is probably the only song on the record that I’d give another listen. On the other end of the spectrum, when this band is at its worst, as on the syrupy pop of “Joyride,” it makes me want to cut myself – and not in the way that a good goth record should.

I’m willing to concede that maybe I just don’t get this. Maybe there’s something here that’s really as good as the reviews in the press materials. Maybe this is groundbreaking, visionary music for its style. To me, it sounds like something I heard piping over the intercom at the mall.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Fred Phillips
August 19th, 2005

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