Long the darlings of the Austin music scene, White Denim are now on their fifth full-length studio release since their debut, and have adopted the chameleon-esque style since their origin, changing ever so slightly based on what works for the band and as well as for the live setting. Notorious for their excellent live performances, this band looks to project their skills into the bedrooms of their listeners, becoming more than just a great live band. On D, it seems like they have got a handle on this task.
Things get rolling on “It’s Him!” and they certainly start they way that you would expect: in the jamming, cymbals crashing, bass throbbing and those psychedelic guitars wailing. As always, White Denim brings that explosive energy to their craft, but this time, it’s with a distinct change for the better in vocal clarity. James Petralli’s odd yet endearingly high-pitched voice serves as the glue factor to piece together the explosive instrumentation. On this first track, it serves its purpose quite well; with the swirling beats, Petralli’s voice keeps the song from whirling out of control.
“Burnished” keeps things going in terms of the psychedelic guitar parts, which welcome you into this second track. On this number, you can definitely tell that this would be a treat to listen to live because the second half of the song is a break down from the band, filled with riffs and head bob-inducing sound. It’s also a pretty good song on this recording in that the cut to just instrumentation didn’t turn into a takeover of self-indulgence. Sure, the same jam continues all through the next song “At the Farm,” but nowhere does it turn boring and banal. It retains those intriguing qualities and you are left with a solid five minutes of pure instrumentation that doesn’t fall flat when played through your bedroom speakers.
But White Denim isn’t just about the jamming, as they slow things down on numbers like “Street Joy” and mildly on “Drug.” These numbers show their diversity and competence to craft deeper set songs. That being said, these two tracks are the extent on their diversity, which makes for a pretty straight set album. D gets a tad monotonous towards its end; you can only take so much fast paced and furious guitar shredding and rolling drums before things begin to sound repetitive.
Regardless, this is still a good direction for this band to strike into. They keep making those vital changes so that their studio music can match what they play live and D is certainly a pretty decent effort.