White Denim hail from Austin, Texas, and defy categorization. Whatever box you might think they're in as you're listening to one song, they upend that expectation on the next. White Denim are James Petralli on vocals, guitar, Joshua Block on drums, Steven Terebecki on vocals, bass, and Austin Jenkins on guitar. The band started out as a trio, muscular and guitar driven, then added Jenkins' second guitar in 2010. The band since Jenkins' addition has naturally expanded the texture and variety of its sound, though they remain a tight, guitar driven band with a locked-tight rhythm section. Corsicana Lemonade is their current record, released in October 2013, and is their most fully realized work to date. The songs, just ten, which clock in at a slim 37:50, (more like an old LP, in this age of long CD's and streaming releases) deliver their money's worth many times over. If the playing time is relatively short, the musical rewards within the songs are dense, expansive and rich. White Denim conjure up the guitar wizardry of master fretboard bands like Led Zep and King Crimson, (though they look like regular guys) employ unexpected song structure changes, have a touch of Steely Dan here, southern rock there, psychedelia, mellow folk and all with catchy hooks and memorable melodies floating on top to keep you coming back to the songs time and again. "At Night in Dreams" sets the tone of the record, breaking out of the gate like a wild stallion (not Bill and Ted's) that runs at breakneck pace, then stops and starts and works through precision interlocking parts intricate enough to make any guitar student sit back in awe. "Corsicana Lemonade" is a funky jazz-rock tune reminiscent of later era Becker/Fagen grooves. The radio friendly "Let It Feel Good (My Eagles)" and "Pretty Green" sacrifice nothing in sophistication for being catchy. The record ends on the lovely 60's love song throwback, "A Place to Start," and many listeners will want to go back and start at the beginning again. Corsicana Lemonade hooks you like all great records, which is what it is. Great individual songs, and more importantly, a record that's completely satisfying when you listen the whole thing in one sitting. Classic.
June 16, 2014