Diane and the Gentle Men Strike With Force & Soul On ‘The White Sea’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

These are some trying times for the world, but Diane Gentile has lived through recent life-altering events and grown from them, fronting The Gentle Men on their newest album The White Sea. Named for the churning froth the New York City outfit sprinkles in paisley underground influences and clean pop production successfully.  

During a tour of Italy, a freak accident saw a rock smash through Diane’s windshield while she was in the passenger seat, crushing the floor of her face, all of the bones and severely damaging her eye. After months of recovery and many surgeries, Gentile is back in the saddle, releasing her record straight from the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Opener “Motorcycle” is an album highlight; a cruising summer love story with jangling guitars, warbling keys and snappy drums, produced by Steve Wynn (The Dream Syndicate) the track kick starts the record. The sashaying jangle continues during the hip-swinging “Little Things”, which savors the minutiae of life, and the upbeat bounce of “Memories”. 

“Perfect People” was co-produced by Jesse Malin as the Gentle Men, consisting of guitarist Jason Victor (The Dream Syndicate/Matthew Sweet/Skull Practitioners), Colin Brooks (Hurricane Bells with Steve Schiltz) on drums and bassist Matt Basile (Chris Gruen), get a swaying groove going. “Boyfriend” displays the strengths of the outfit, combining Gentile’s direct singing, dreamy soft feedback expelling guitars and a straight-ahead beat.      

Less successfully the band goes full-on pop balladry for “Wicked Hours” while the drama-filled “Joe” drags at a slow pace never landing in a sweet spot. “Just Pretend” increases the folky country vibe while the title track starts with a stripped-down waltz before growing in sounds and scope towards open scenic vistas. The piano ballad “Second Hand Heart” wraps up the record on a pensive soft note of loss. 

Pain, perseverance and the full scope of life flows through The White Sea as Diane and the Gentle Man use adversity to create their art. 

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