Debut EP ‘White Ink’ sees electric-bluesman John J. Presley tell poetic tales of late nights, loss and all-consuming love through his heavy, gothic, Delta-blues. Anyone who has witnessed one of his on stage confessions, along with the summoning singles ‘Honeybee’, ‘Left’ and (early single) ‘Sweet Sister’ has been poised for the first full length delve into his mind.
After just a day at Toe Rag Studios (The Kills, Tame Impala and Billy Childish), ‘White Ink’ was recorded through an eight-track, straight to tape, capturing the honest and soulful nature of the music. The reverb heavy introduction to opener ‘Come To Me’ builds an intimidating atmosphere, sounding like Nick Cave on a murder trial. A desperate tale of enduring love told through haunting vocals and pleading slide guitar.
Presley strikes his vintage guitars as his vocals rasp like a whiskey soaked Tom Waits on the lashing ‘Come Calling’ and ‘Rise To My Confession’. The softer beginning of ‘Sweet Superstition’ uses ambient keys to draw you into a world of volatile arrangements yet earthly lyrics, one that sees Presley at his most thoughtful as he deals with loss, death and missing friends. Closing track ‘Ill At Ease’ opens with The Doors psychedelic keys culminating with the chaotic percussion and thrashing guitar of The White Stripes.
‘White Ink’ is a stripped back, electric-blues triumph, and one, which envelops you within its 18 minutes of distorted hypnotic hymns. A debut that proves John J. Presley is an up and coming artist to be reckoned with. Rating: