White Denim was unlike anything I’d ever heard before: they were young and modern and hip, yet presented the skill and musicianship of a seasoned vet; their songs were light and simple, while at the same time quick, intricate, and skillfully layered; the sound was ambient and grand, yet rooted in flying fingers that produced tangible, graspable, textured notes. I was hooked.
So--now that the shameless glorifying is out of the way--when I heard that the band was to release their 5th studio album, D, I jumped at the chance to catch a listen. This album is yet another showcase of the band’s undeniable talent and creativity. Each song melds together beautifully, thanks to the constant aquatic groove that provides an ironically solid base for the album as a whole. Like Last Day of Summer, D has a standout instrumental track (Last Day of Summer actually had two), “At the Farm”, so exquisite that vocals would damage its delicate porcelain face. The sounds trickle down and climb up and roll around and keep your ears alert and hungry for detail. D is, in a word, dextrous.
In comparison with Last Day of Summer, this album is a little less funky, if you will, and a little loftier and more ethereal. At times, D feels more exotic and worldly influenced, exemplified by the Latin flare in “River to Consider”; but then steel-tongued licks from songs such as “Burnished” and “Beth Street” bring the sound back to the band’s rock roots. While there are no instant, throat grabbing jams from this album, such as “I Start to Run” from 2009’s Fit or Last Day of Summer’s “Tony Fatti”, gems from D such as the opening track “It’s Him!” and “Drug” sneak up on your conscience until you find yourself humming their infectious tunes and slurring attempts at lyrics not yet memorized. D’s closing track “Keys” fills the same role as Last Day of Summer’s “New Coat” (also the closing track): it is the charming little ditty that leaves the listener with a sweetly sentimental lump of sugar in their mouth and a craving for more. So how do you satiate that White Denim hunger? Repeat and enjoy.
Be sure to catch these guys live if you can. Check out a full tour schedule here, or check out their next two shows:
San Diego: 5/24, The Cashbah, All Ages, $10 adv/$12 dos, 8pm
LA: 5/25, The Echo, 18+, $10 adv/$12 dos, 8:30 pm