The Junkies' shimmering 1986 debut immediately catches your attention simply because of the unique concept: a lethargic, languid, country-tinged band interpreting an emotionally intense art form--the blues--with utter detachment. Seven of the nine cuts are blues covers (including three from John Lee Hooker and two from Robert Johnson), with one original and one stark Springsteen cover tossed in for good measure. The formula succeeds magically, thanks to Margo Timmins's drowsy, pristine vocals, Michael Timmins's gently snapping guitar, Alan Anton's quietly rumbling bass, and Peter Timmins's soft percussion palette. Whites not only serves as a perfect introduction to the doleful Junkie aesthetic, it somehow makes apathy sound compelling. --Marc Greilsamer
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The Blues Alternative
Avalon Don | Huntington Beach, California United States | 04/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Forget the silly title,"Whites Off Earth Now" is the benchmark in the Blues Alternative catagory. It's not to be compared with the British Isles Rock of the 1960's or Stevie Ray Vaughan's Texas shuffle of the 1980's. The Cowboy Junkies brand is slow Blues a la John Lee Hooker in Rock form. Margo Timmins haunting vocals and brother Michael's hypnotic guitar licks make it all work. The whole album is as dark and depressing as the Cowboy Junkies would ever get laying the groundwork for their future albums. The CD closes with a six minute version of "Crossroads" leaving sounds bouncing off the walls in dramatic type fashion. Modern Rock enthusiasts trying to grasp slow Blues should best begin here. It will make any easy transistion to the real creators of this album: Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker and Lightnin' Hopkins."