From the first lines of "Mutiny," the opening track on William Elliott Whitmore's ANTI- Records debut 'Animals In The Dark,' one can see that this is decidedly not simply a continuation of his Southern trilogy that spanned his last three releases. Rather than a reflection of life and loss and the world surrounding his Iowa horse farm on the banks of the Mississippi, "Mutiny" finds Whitmore's focus turned outward, to the state of the country and the missteps of the government.
Yet 'Animals In The Dark,' is by no means a political record. It has more in common with the preacher blues of Reverend Gary Davis or the romantic populism of Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska than it does a Billy Bragg record. What 'Animals In The Dark' highlights is the maturation and growth of an exemplary artist. On the release, Whitmore showcases his classic songwriting and mastery of the acoustic guitar and banjo, but adds elements such as strings, an organ and a pedal steel, putting the songs into full arrangements and a band context for the first time. The results are a more expansive, cultivated sound, without losing any of the palpable soul that has garnered the 30 year old such critical acclaim.