Mojo (Publisher) (p.99) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "EJW's sweetly narcotic voice belies her fifth LP's grim themes....Darkly captivating."
Personnel: Emily Jane White (vocals, guitar, piano, organ); Shawn Alpay (cello); Nick Ott (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixer: Mark Willsher.
Recording information: New & Improved Studio, Oakland; Tiny Telephone Studio, San Francisco.
With a title that references the opening of Cormac McCarthy's novel Outer Dark, They Moved in Shadow All Together is the fifth album by indie balladeer Emily Jane White. Stripped back somewhat from the lusher, more electronic character of her previous album, Blood/Lines, it marks a return to spooky acoustic form. The opening track sets the stage with echoing percussion, acoustic guitar, bass, and cooing backing vocals set to a minor-key waltz. Its tone is reflected in lyrics that use words like dusty, overgrown, and forsaken. The song ends with the disheartening promise "someday I'll forgive." The album's haunted atmosphere is stated explicitly in "Nightmares on Repeat," a song about hanging on literally and figuratively ("Holding your hand keeps me here"). Arpeggiated guitar and, later, piano converge near the end with its lilting melody into a swirl of repeated words. Later, whether seen as a topical offering or a timeless one, "Womankind" speaks to the practice of suffering in silence and calls for an end to it from "everyone who cares for others' lives." Its flowing piano and strings seem to symbolize momentum. In contrast, the closer "Behind the Glass" has an almost rousing pulse that moves across multiple instruments. The otherwise spare arrangement includes mostly backing and lead vocals that question the notion of authenticity and warn "Behind the glass is something/But it might not be what you're wanting." The set of nocturnes maintains a mood so consistent that it's an all-or-nothing affair for listeners, and a likely boon for established fans. ~ Marcy Donelson