Rhythm & Views

Nina Nastasia and Jim White

I want everything about You Follow Me to be louder. The blend of singer/songwriter Nina Nastasia's powerful acoustic guitar and Jim White's precise drumming is so full of tension that it's almost unbearable. Almost.

At times, the drums by Dirty Three's White overpower Nastasia, and at others, the two seem to be playing in completely different rooms. The louder you turn up the volume, the more the disparities become evident, and I want to grab my own guitar and play and sing along just to make Nastasia's melodies stand out more, especially on songs like "Our Discussion," where White's drums patter around Nastasia's barely audible folky arpeggios.

But the vocals often come through loud and clear--you can hear the air being pushed through Nastasia's vocal chords even on the quietest notes. It follows, then, that the uneven mix and the tension it creates is probably intentional, which is what makes You Follow Me so exciting. It's erotic and narcotic in this withholding of volume--the brilliance of the songs is evident but not fully enacted, their live potential palpable.

Nowhere is this more evident than on "Late Night," where Nastasia's voice elevates to Johnny Cash-like darkness and volume and then falls back instantaneously. She's just strumming her guitar, and White is just accenting the rhythm, but between the sparse instrumentation is room for excruciating volume, for waves of guitar feedback, for catharsis that never is fully realized except in your own imagination. You Follow Me, like the never-ending search for jouissance, beckons you with its impossible possibilities, and you have no choice but to follow.

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