Sometimes Bowlegs just has to cut to the chase and begin with the important stuff. In this case, it’s simple. You need White Denim’s latest long player, the laconically titled ‘D’. It rocks. Just buy it. It’s as simple as that.
‘D’ is an album which sees their influences, experiments, and wackiness come together in one great fusion of 70s prog, psychedelic rock, southern country, Caribbean rhythm, jazz, funk and balls-to-the-wall stadium posturing. It’s all wrapped up in musicianship so tight you could cut your girlfriend’s stonewashed denims into hot pants with it and set them on fire, then dance around the embers while White Denim blow your head off through the sheer chutzpah of what they can do with their instruments.
The opener ‘It’s Him’, is a slow burner that jangles into action with a laidback country vibe, before shifting into a jazzier rhythm, and then to a completely different coda for the ending, leaving you wondering just how many songs you’ve heard.
Tracks two and three, ‘Burnished’ and ‘At the Farm’ are essentially two parts of the same song. ‘Burnished’ explodes its way through psych wah-wahs and a reggae-infused chorus then away again into a sun-kissed piece of quiet peculiarity. This only lulls the ears into a false sense of security before the epic jam that is ‘At the Farm’ builds into a pitch-perfect recreation of every orgasmic 70s freak-out you’ve ever heard.
Knowing there’s nowhere to go after that but onto the slow stuff, the Denims slip back into a mellow, intimate piece of acoustic strumming, for the emotive ‘Street Joy,’ which shows off their song-writing ability to good effect, as well as James Petralli’s vocal prowess.
The fast-slow trick is one that’s repeated later in the album, with the similar combo of the last two tracks, the totally irresistible, ‘Is and Is and Is’ – which features one of the best guitar riff finales Bowlegs has heard in years – and the country-lite coda, ‘Keys’. There’s also the small matter of the tracks in-between, of course, but it’s enough to say that all of them hold up against the rest.
‘D’ is a record so dense it really shouldn’t work beyond an almost academic example of a band trying to squeeze everything they love about guitars, bass and drums into one 10 track long-player. The fact that it does work, and so brilliantly, means this is an album you’ll want to revisit again and again, just to convince yourself you did hear what you thought you heard.