Article by: Jason Robey
Austin indie-rockers White Denim are back with their eighth studio album, Performance. The album is simultaneously the most accessible and sonically experimental the group has put out so far. The opening track and lead single, “Magazin,” sets the tone from the start as a fun album, made by a group of guys who are happy to be creating music together, and not afraid to try new ideas. They certainly play to the strengths that long-time fans will recognize – riff-heavy, psychedelic guitars, soulful vocals, and 70s funk-inspired rhythms. Yet, there is a surprise around every corner, even after several listens.
As the record moves into the title track, the opening guitar chords are complimented by the textured sound of reversed background vocals, before settling into an upbeat riff, giving way to a heavily-effected verse by vocalist/guitarist James Petralli. The song continues to shift focus between lush harmonies and loud, abrasive garage-rock, giving way to a whirling keyboard solo for the middle section. The wah-guitar laden track, “Double Death,” features impressive solo work from Petralli, accenting a shuffling drum beat and warbling vocal effects. “Moves On” shows the group moving seamlessly from MC5-style punk rock into a prog rock jam featuring dazzling keyboard gymnastics by Michael Hunter. “Good News” is a bright ending to the record, with an optimistic sound of layered acoustic strumming and guitar licks, punctuated by pulsing keyboard interjections.[/su_youtube]
From start to finish, Performance is an upbeat and natural progression from their 2016 release, Stiff. It shows off a myriad of influences and penchant for catchy songwriting with a pop-sensibility, while maintaining a lovable quirkiness and experimental side. Look for White Denim on tour through the end of October in the U.S., and Europe until February.