Cherry White are a London based band consisting of former Lithuanian pop sensation, Donata Sounds (vocals), Russell Jones (guitars), Ralph Beeby (bass) and Felipe Drago (drums). They have an interesting back-story. Donata aside, we have a drum tutor, an actor and a scientist who all share a love of classic rock and blues.
Cherry White have been around the scene since 2009 and “Staring At The Sun” is their most recent EP, released in 2015.
The EP starts off with the lead single “Drifter” which has a classic blues/rock riff underneath Donata’s beautifully, silky vocal. The song is a brooding effort to begin with, with the drums and bass sitting nicely behind allowing the track to breathe before the instruments pick up the pace and fully kick into gear. There is a mixture of Southern Rock / 70s Stadium Rock at play, with Donata showcasing her exceptional vocals with more than a hint of Stevie Nicks about them. Throw in a harmonica part and we’ve got a solid rock song to kick things off.
“Do It Better” is more of a commercial sounding Indie / Alt Rock song. Upbeat, with a catchy riff from Jones and a great rhythm laying the foundation. The rich, full vocal tone that was in “Drifter” is replaced with a raspier, more raw vocal that shows off another side of Donata’s vocal talents.
“Angel” slows things down and takes us off into ballad territory. Drago’s cymbals wash over the background as Jones’ clean tones keep things interesting guitar wise. More beautiful vocal work and some stellar bass work by Beeby. There is a jazz feeling to his playing and whilst, personally, I’m not heavily into jazz, I can still appreciate some nifty fretwork when it is on display. His playing takes the song to another level. I enjoyed the bluesy guitar licks and when the vocal harmonies come in the track takes on a moody, melancholy, misery that gave me goose bumps. I love the timbre of the vocals and how they sound together. “Angel” sounds like something you could have found on Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” record. Loved it.
Next up is “7 Days” and after the sadness of “Angel”, Cherry White raise our spirits with this fab little rocker. The chorus is memorable and it sounds like something straight out of the 70s. Van Halen-lite. Like when they did “You Really Got Me” – There is nothing here that I dislike BUT my only gripe would be that I would’ve loved a longer solo. Yes it serves the song perfectly as it is and yes, there are those guitar licks over the end chorus but I want more! Enjoyed this song very much.
“Blues Eyes” slows things back down again containing jazzy/blues piano plinks. Listen to this song, close your eyes and tell me what you see? This song evokes images for me of a grand piano being played in a smoky jazz club, the band in tuxedos whilst Donata sings under a spotlight to an appreciative group of patrons, that may, or may not contain celebrities, crooked politicians and gangsters. Something out of Goodfellas for example.
We close out of the EP with the title track “Staring at the Sun” – A solid rhythmic foundation, bluesy guitar leads and more stunning vocals. The song is quite delicate in parts but expands to a rocking climax. The vocals are pained, whilst full of passion and sorrow. When you think the song ends and comes to its “natural conclusion” – in comes Ralphs bass, dual vocals, a building guitar and they mesh together to bring the song and the EP to a rocking climax.
Overall this is a really solid EP that Cherry White have crafted. They pull off the commercial, Indie/Rock sound very well but make it interesting with the subtle instrumental nuances and jazzy flourishes. When they slow things down, they allow the songs themselves room to breathe and you can feel the air in the room. Donata's vocals take them to another level as she shines brightly here, effortlessly going from blues starlet to rock goddess from one song to the next. I have the pleasure of witnessing Cherry White live soon and I cannot wait to see how these songs translate to a live setting.
"Staring At The Sun" is most definitely worthy of your time and attention. Go check it out