by / June 8th, 2011 /

White Denim – D

 1/5 Rating

(Downtown Records)

Pin a genre on White Denim at your peril. Even from their heavy, blues-based garage rock beginnings they were on a level above a lot of heavy three chord lo-fi music. They hide astounding musicianship in simple sounding songs and have developed this to a point of genius. Simply put: Workout Holiday was electric noise; Fits was a noble attempt to channel that energy with more complex songs and a host of new sounds and instruments. D is the successful attempt. They have found their sound …for now.

The album is a melding of tight and ambitious talent with the influence of hundreds of obscure acts few of us are likely to ever hear. ‘It’s Him’ sets the tone for the more energetic side of this album with Zeppelin-riffage played with effortless, fluid style. ‘Burnished’ is similar, a structured tune, with the feel of a jam, frantic energy behind a band pretending not to notice. They clearly love playing, creating, recording and it comes across wonderfully. ‘At The Farm’ further paints White Denim as a band who would be making albums on cassette for their friends and playing at Texas barbecues if they’d never been picked up on. Not to say this is in any way lazy, the production is superb. ‘Street Joy’ meanwhile is acoustic beauty on par with any of the current crop of bearded folkies, with an undeniable Neil Young vocal style and atmosphere. It’s a brief moment of relaxation before the swirling psychadelic sound of ‘Anvil Everything’ and the afro-beat jazz flute dance-along on ‘River To Consider’.

The great thing about D is that it works on different levels. You can soak up the rich warmth and sheer variety of sound, meditating on it and imprinting it on your soul. Or you can stick it on while doing the dishes. It is a sheer joy to listen to and serves as a tasteful introduction to a whole lot of music that many of us rarely get to hear. Southern country, prog, psych, jazzy guitar noodling, blues riffing, all pulled together with an infectious (though relaxed) energy. Who knows where they’ll go from here but, on this form, White Denim could be capable of anything.

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