written by Chris Familton
Texans White Denim are onto their fifth album if you include the free LP they released last year and here they continue the endless cascading deluge of ideas, riffs and melodies that have become the hallmark of their eclectic sound. This album is significant in that it is their most cohesive album to date. Previously they would swing from dub to psych wig outs and mutant pop in a nanosecond but on D they present a sonically united collection of songs that still thrill and swerve madly but now feel like they are all being played by the same band.
There is also more of a country filter on the songs. None of them are country songs per say but most do contain the swing and vocal harmonies that personify americana styles of music. That can appear in the form of the southern countrified boogie of Back At The Farm, the acoustic honky tonk of Keys or the beautiful tender balladry of Street Joy that brings to mind that haunting falsetto of My Morning Jacket’s Jim James. Though there is a wide array of instruments employed on D it is the guitars and drums that impress the most. The drums tumble and explode like cosmic free jazz on Anvil Everything while the prog latin vibe of River To Consider is overflowing with percussion. The guitars fire with nervous energy through the album with noodling riffs, speed metal solos and psychedelic space jams all somehow working together in harmony.
It seems White Denim have finally found their happy place on D by dialing back the freak-outs and returning to Earth after their previous cosmic explorations. Don’t think they have gone legit though, there is still plenty of free expression and creativity at work here.
out now on Downtown Music / Inertia
this review first appeared in The Drum Media (Sydney)