Theirs is a sound that is not easily pinned down. This, the thing that seems to frustrate and confuse White Denim’s critics is very thing that initially drew me in–it’s also what has kept me coming back. A line in the sand is often drawn when it comes to music, to fandom, and that is one of eclecticism and improvisation. While I will be the first to admit that “eclectic” is all too often misappropriated as a euphemism for “unfocused,” White denim is anything but. Theirs is a carefully constructed stew. Nothing this, now, foursome do is easily packaged; not their songs, not their albums nor their live shows; none of which fit easily inside a pre-determined box. And, really, most anything worth coming back to, things with any kind of longevity, do not.
Alternately described as post-rock/prog/psych/fusion/garage/punk/jamband, White Denim, more often than not, infuse many of these traits into one open, evolving, and cohesive sound. While that, in and of itself, may not be all that unusual, what is, is their doing it in an organic manner that consistently rewards listeners in its sheer originality. The seeds of which were evident from the band’s beginning.
Last week saw the release of White Denim’s D, the bands fourth proper long-player. At a brisk 37 minutes it’s the sound of White Denim building on and experimenting with the ideas and sounds they have been honing and exploring since their first EP. Notably added to the mix is second guitarist Austin Jenkins whose contributions carefully bolster the group without altering their inherent chemistry. Heralded for their instrumental prowess, the conversation often fails to include James Petralli’s vocals. Let’s work on that. Having grown markedly stronger over the years, Petralli’s soulful contributions often act as the secret weapon tying it all together; something that D does well to highlight. Psychedelic soul roots firmly intact, D’s production is clean without sacrificing an ounce of warmth. It’s also one of my favorite full-lengths thus far in 2011.
MP3: White Denim :: Drug