A gentle giant with an unassuming voice and a knack for distilling New Orleans R&B, Tropic lia, and '70s soft rock into a sweet and smoky, Southern-style indie pop confection, Richmond, Virginia-based singer/songwriter and arranger Matthew E. White's Hometapes' debut, Big Inner, is part Allen Toussaint, part Chico Buarque, and more than a little bit of Harry Nilsson. White's musicality (he moonlights as the leader of avant-garde jazz band Fight the Big Bull) is impressive to say the least. The soulful, sultry opener "One of These Days" serves as a great litmus test for what follows, casting a languid spell over the listener with its measured, neo-soul build and lush ornamentations. White's gift for sonic world building is on display throughout Big Inner's 40-minute run time, and while he may sound like a Donny Hathaway-obsessed, Palace-era Will Oldham, or an even less-interested M. Ward, his old-school affectations never feel like shtick. ~ James Christopher Monger
Rolling Stone (p.80) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Lazily swelling Randy Newman orchestrations and hippie-gospel choirs coil around the sleepiest Allen Toussaint grooves..."
Billboard (p.24) - "White's music is a big bite that requires some time to digest, but the substance and advanced craft of these songs reward the effort."
Q (Magazine) (p.106) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "White has sewn together a psychedelic patchwork from various indigenous sounds -- cosmic soul and funk, morning-after blues -- that's as great as any of its obvious influences."