Texas' trio White Denim (vocalist-guitarist James Petralli, bassist Steve Terebecki and drummer Josh Block) favored
the jerky, sloppy and punkish garage-rock pioneered by Jon Spencer but augmented it with artful moves worthy of the new wave on
Workout Holiday (2008), also known as Explosion (2008).
Let's Talk About It has the killer guitar riff and the underlying
killer distorted noise and the killer tom-tom beat, and a killer
Police-style bridge, but what is unique is
the way the riff is repeated almost like an instrumental mantra over
increasingly syncopated drumming.
Shake Shake Shake burst at the seams with the verve of the
Fleshtones but the drums are again protagonist
of a breathtaking metamorphosis, peaking with a galloping finale.
IEIEI displays the fire and the pathos of the Who.
I Can Tell resurrected the angular, lascivious soul-rock of the
Grand Funk Railroad.
There was certainly more than simple retro nostalgia at stake in hybrid
reconstructions such as
Sitting, that indulges in Queen-style glam-cabaret and silly Beatles-ian harmonies,
not to mention the wild imitation of rhythm'n'blues shouters of the 1950s in
the torrid All You Really Have to Do.
The neurotic element that is overshadowed in those relatively straightforward
pieces comes to the foreground with the instrumental
Look That Way at It, the grotesque blues-rock shuffle of
Darksided Computer Mouth
and the even more convoluted instrumental Wda, that begins like a
Grateful Dead country-rock jam but with
little of their melodic subtlety.
The drummer frequently steals the show, notably with
the locomotive rhythm of the restive Mess Your Hair Up.
Fits (Downtown, 2009) confirmed the good qualities of the band,
but ultimately sounded like leftovers from the first album.
Radio Milk How Can You Stand It blends
convoluted hysterical jamming, silly singalong, and spastic tempo shifts.
All Consolation is a
rave-up for distorted piercing guitar and wildly pounding drums.
Say What You Want
to shape a hard-rock tune but ends up in a shapeless bacchanal.
Less chaotic, I Start To Run is a shouted rhythm'n'blues that
caters to the broader audience.
Even more melodic is Paint Yourself, although derailed by a
dense rhythmic tapestry.
References to the past abound, from the
rapid-fire atmospheric instrumental
to the spacey
Mirrored And Reversed with its multi-tiered rhythm.
Add plenty of tributes to
Sixties vocals (I'd Have It Just The Way We Were) and Sixties instrumentals (Everybody Somebody).
Adding second guitarist Austin Jenkins, the free digital download
Last Day of Summer (2010) sounded like a tribute to their roots and
inspiration, spanning a broad spectrum of styles without really trying to
secret hybrids. The songs, however, don't quite stand on their own merits.
The album as a whole constitutes pleasant muzak not to listen to.
White Denim removed the last remaining
intellectual detritus from D (2011) and settled for
laid-back back-porch roots-rock highlighted by the
psychedelic jam It's Him, the country-pop elegy Keys,
the instrumental guitar workout of At the Farm,
and the winning combination of
pastoral hippie flute and Caribbean rhythm in River to Consider.
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