Release Date: Jan 27, 2009
Record label: RCA Victor
Genre(s): Rock, Pop, Alternative
A dalliance with Broadway reinvigorated Duncan Sheik, winning him a Tony and opening up the new artistic avenues he pursues on Whisper House, his first album since the award-winning production of Spring Awakening and his 2006 LP, White Limousine. Whisper House falls somewhere between those two extremes, being a dramatic piece that plays a lot like a classic '70s singer/songwriter album, especially when the opener, "It's Better to Be Dead," unfolds quietly yet dramatically in the tradition of early Elton John. Whisper House rarely gets this grand, either in its production or its intent.
Theatrical, lushly orchestrated album a worthwhile experimentSix albums in, Duncan Sheik deserves credit for shrewdly repositioning a career that could have been relegated to one-hit wonder status. That hit—the ubiquitous '90s mainstay "Barely Breathing"—bears little resemblance to anything on Whisper House, an album that sees Sheik continue down the musical theatre path after penning the book to the incredibly successful, Tony-Award winning musical Spring Awakening. In fact, songs from Whisper House will anchor an upcoming musical of same name.
Duncan Sheik has built himself an enduring livelihood as a performer, songwriter, and composer over the past decade and a half. But the short attention span of the pop-culture world ensures that most people who know his name probably peg him as a one-hit wonder. Anyone bringing his name up in casual conversation will likely get a chorus of snide “Where-is-he-now?” responses and clucking disapprobations about how he didn’t have what it takes to make it.