Album Review: Diane and the Gentle Men - The White Sea

Diane and the Gentle Men offer up some 1960s-inspired garage rock and power pop on their latest release.
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The year 2018 was to be a banner one for singer-songwriter Diane Gentile and her band, Diane and the Gentle Men. They had completed recording their new album, The White Sea, and Gentile had appeared live on The Garden Sessions, filmed from Adam Duritz of The Counting Crows fame's home. The group had booked a short tour of Italy when Gentile was in a bad car accident, forcing her to have major reconstructive surgery on her face.

Gentile's friends urged her to release an EP while she recovered and she did, dropping Little Things, which featured songs that would ultimately end up on The White Sea. Now, fully healed, Gentile is finally getting to release The White Sea, and plans to do some select live dates (pandemic permitting) to promote it.

Produced by Jesse Malin, Steve Wynn (The Dream Syndicate), and Matt Basile, The White Sea features 10 Gentile originals and boasts rich production, melodic choruses and a healthy dose of 1960s garage rock/power pop influences. Tracks such as "Motorcycle" and "Perfect People" have been played frequently on Little Steven's Underground Garage and dubbed "the coolest song in the world," and it's easy to see why. The former is a melodic, up-tempo garage rocker with vocals that recall Chrissie Hynde while the later is a slice of power pop with a greasy guitar riff and a biting solo drenched in feedback.

Gentile pens an ode to the mundane, simple things in life on "Little Things," a track with ringing guitars and big, melodic choruses. "Joe," on the other hand, is a warm ballad that is a tribute to the famed Wall Of Sound with a heartfelt vocal from Gentile.

The sparse production on "Boyfriend" allows for Gentile's voice to shine while maintaining strong pop sensibilities while "Second Hand Heart" finds her delivering a moving piano ballad. Gentile effortlessly moves between the more rocking, up-tempo numbers and these more delicate ballads, all while delivering strong vocals and lyrics.

Gentile's accident was a tragedy by any standard, made all the worse by delaying the release of these excellent songs. With strong lyrics and vocals, and a diverse collection of tunes, The White Sea easily made the wait worthwhile for fans.