2009 was something of a breakout year for White Denim. In no chronological order, they released Fits to critical acclaim in Europe, managed to get the album distributed in the US, and came up with a single that I’m about 90% sure was played on T.V. adverts over in the UK which is no mean feat. Thinking about it, why shouldn’t White Denim have finally found some success? Their style of garage/jam rock fits in well with the current scene, but flexes enough to sound unique in comparison to others. Question is, can White Denim build on that sort-of success with their next non self-released album?
Fortunately, D isn’t a let down. It is, however, one of those old “grower” albums. There’s nothing as immediate as “I Start To Run,” which is both a blessing and a curse. Blessing in that there isn’t one track to always skip to and take most of your attention, a curse as time has to be invested in D and sometimes, in certain moods, that’s trying. Put simply, the band aren’t going to win over many new fans. Invest some time into D, though, and you’ll find an album that’s highly rewarding; structured into acts as if it were a play.
The first ‘act’ isn’t an explosive introduction, more a self-assured foray into what White Denim do best; at times sounding like a roughed-up Yes, at times a less harmonious Beach Boys. The second ‘act’ is an about turn in comparison to the first, far more relaxed and acoustic. “Anvil Everything” would be the one exception given the instruments, however, the focus is more on atmospherics than intricate guitar passages. The final ‘act’ is a return to chaotic drum driven pieces that are White Denim’s bread and butter, perfectly closing out the album.
It’s a pleasure to listen to an album that focuses on an overall flow rather than individual songs; it’s possible to imagine the band having that in the back of their minds while writing the album. That isn’t to say the detail in the songs are neglected, on the contrary, White Denim’s attention to detail is superb, but everything just fits together. It must be said though, that they aren’t breaking any new ground at all, but sometimes that doesn’t matter if the music is good enough to hold its own. It’ll be interesting to know, and hear, where White Denim go from here; they’re only one killer hit away from conquering wherever it is they’re planning on conquering.
Plugging away since 1999, The National finally hit mainstream success with the release of their 2010 album High Violet. Of course, this entailed their first world tour, but in the new documentary Mistaken For Strangers, it’s only the backdrop for the relationship between lead singer Matt Berninger and his younger brother Tom, who had no idea that these short videos he was shooting would turn into a public document of their troubled, if still loving brotherhood.
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