Carol Bui - Everyone Wore White (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Carol Bui

Everyone Wore White (2007)

54 40' or Fight

I think most people either know someone or are that someone who flocked to CBGB's, regardless of whether or not there were any bands playing so that they could bask in its glow, perhaps to absorb the greatness that was once created there. If I were to make such a pilgrimage I have to say the one place I could think of to go to is Inner Ear Studio in D.C. If there ever was evidence for greatness of a historical place rubbing off on someone it would have to be Carol Bui's Everyone Wore White, which was recorded in that very studio. It could just be her natural talent and skill but I guess we'll never know.

Assisted by Aloha's TJ Lipple, Bui forms flourishing soundscapes equally informed by the poeticism of Jeff Buckley, Dischord and Desoto's `90s catalogues and Throwing Muses at their most accessible. Through these lenses, Bui uses the album to explore liminality or the in-between spaces that people occupy. On "1," the song is built around a steady drum and bass groove where guitar, synth and cello are only used sparingly to accent the lyrics. With these different elements coming in and out, the listener is unable to get a firm footing within the song, highlighting those out of place and disjointed feelings expressed in the lyrics -- for example: "Our dimensions remind me of dead loved ones, calling it home would have been reckless." It would be easy, however, to get totally lost in the layers of the song if it wasn't for the solid rhythms and Bui's loose but keen sense of melody.

Layers are something that are very important to the album, and that is what this is, an album in the truest sense of the word. The songs work in relation to each other and make sense in the context of each other. The closeness of mournful violin and steady breathing of the splash symbol in "EOL" only become fully realized after you've been enveloped by the sheer space of "Qua Cau Gio Bay," a traditional Vietnamese folk song done a cappella.

Everyone Wore White is a fine tuned post-punk album that appears to be about discovery. Discovery of one's self, discovery of the world around you and discovery of your place in that world. The more times you listen to each song the more you discover in the music and the lyrics. To me this is the record that the Evens have been searching to write.