A few years ago, Duncan Sheik interrupted his thriving career as a tasteful neo-folkie—pumping out heartfelt fodder for TV-drama closing montages—and devoted his energies to co-writing a rock-heavy musical adaptation of the scandalous 19th-century German play Spring Awakening. Both the musical and Sheik’s score won Tonys, and the success of that endeavor led to Whisper House, a work-in-progress show about regretful ghosts and the stressed-out humans they haunt. The stage version of Whisper House (co-written with Kyle Jarrow, and originally conceived by actor-director Keith Powell) has yet to debut, but 10 of its songs are now available, performed in collaboration with singer-keyboardist Holly Brook. Sounding like a hybrid of epic, Frames-like angst-rock and unabashedly earnest musical theater, Whisper House is simultaneously more satisfyingly rich in sound than Sheik’s early work and more off-puttingly story-driven. A good litmus test for listeners will be the rousing showtune “The Tale Of Solomon Snell.” If the song’s outsized characters and jaunty melody turn you off, then Whisper House isn’t for you. But if Sheik’s full-bodied orchestration and gothic narrative hold you rapt, then there are nine more equally strong songs where that came from.

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