Release Date: May 19, 2014
Record label: Crush Music
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, Ambient Pop
“Dear friend just undress me.” That’s the opening line on Morgan Kibby’s (aka White Sea’s) debut album and, yes, it would appear it is indeed “Business Time”. The actress, multi-instrumentalist and M83 crewmate who co-wrote some of their most treasured tunes – “Midnight City”, “Kim & Jessie” – is newly single and ready to mingle and wants nothing less than to sweep you off your feet and generally “tickle your fancy.” Kibby’s euphoric vocal gymnastics and wuthering whirlwind of sound blow through In Cold Blood like a feral spirit unchained, unleashed, unbound. Best lock away your breakables and delicates.
White Sea, the solo vessel for L.A. singer/songwriter and M83 collaborator Morgan Kibby, is not subtle. For a project that began quietly in her home, Kibby's White Sea debut In Cold Blood is a hammering power-synth attack with one foot in big-budget, late-'80s pop and the other in a Lloyd Webber production where Arcade Fire is the pit band. At first blush, it can be overpowering, but as with Bonnie Tyler's immortally heavy-handed power ballad "Total Eclipse of the Heart," if you allow yourself to be swept away by the emotions, it can be a pretty fun ride.
The video for “They Don’t Know”, the opening track off White Sea’s debut In Cold Blood, features M83 singer/keyboardist Morgan Kibby and friends partaking in a river baptism, swimming around in a slow motion riot of Greek statuesque bodies and billowing, brightly colored sheets. Paired with the song’s soaring vocals, tribal drums, and clanging church bells, the whole affair resembles “Circle of Life” performed by a Wilson Phillips-fronted Skid Row—a reminder that, when it comes to indulgence, Kibby just can’t help herself. “I really have a taste for drama,” she told Norwegian singer Susanne Sundfør.
Go big or go home. That appears to be the mindset behind In Cold Blood, the debut full-length of longtime M83 collaborator Morgan Kibby’s solo project, White Sea. Subtlety flies out the door as opener “They Don’t Know” reaches for the stars with roaring synths and celestial choirs, a synthpop anthem of unabashed grandeur. It’s no surprise that In Cold Blood, and especially “They Don’t Know”, recalls the recent work of M83.
opinion byJEAN-LUC MARSH Fans of M83 will be delighted to learn that White Sea, the solo project of band member Morgan Kibby, does not stray far from the trail blazed by the French band long ago. Her debut effort, In Cold Blood, is chock-full of epic tracks that merit adjectives such as “soaring,” “sprawling,” and “triumphant,” living up every bit to the legacy of someone who had a hand in the making of maximalist hit, “Midnight City. ” The only outlier here among a collection of tracks rendered in full surround sound, blown-out-stereo style is “Small December,” a somnolent, downtempo ballad that hypothetically serves to function as a respite between sonic buffets.