Album Review: White Denim's "D" Is an A+

Written by  Published in Album Reviews Tuesday, 24 May 2011 13:00


The Background:

Ah, White Denim. I remember the very day when my love affair with their distinctly deft sounds began.  ‘Twas a chilly October night last year.  I was at the El Rey, seeing Portugal. The Man for the first time (read about my second time seeing them in Anaheim here!).  Unsuspectingly, I stood in waiting, only to be blindsided by the opening act of all opening acts: White Denim (duh). I was sure to pick up a cd after the show, so humbly packaged in a paper sleeve.  This album, which would soon change my life if, I may be appropriately melodramatic, was 2010’s Last Day of Summer. The band released this album last year online for free, which is basically the musical equivalent of handing out Ferraris for free. No big.

Anvil Everything by WhiteDenim

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.


The Album:

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.

White Denim - Drug by WhiteDenim

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

Last modified on Tuesday, 24 May 2011 05:06
Claire Gallagher

Claire Gallagher is from Las Vegas, Nevada.  She grew up under blinking signs for Girls, Girls, Girls! and she hummed to the clanky sounds of slot machines in casinos and grocery stores and airports.   She now attends school at UCLA and is becoming very intimately acquainted with the kick-ass music scene Los Angeles so sweetly provides. When Claire is not on the back of a horse or playing with her pet snake, Skittles, she is listening to music, eating orange chicken, or spinning around in her rolly chair.  She is fond of tyrannosaurus rexes, John Steinbeck, and the fleeting feeling of post-concert deafness.  You can check her out on tumblr as well.

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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