Home > News & Reviews > White Denim

White Denim - Side Effects (Album Review)

Wednesday, 03 April 2019 Written by Jacob Brookman

Photo: Pooneh Ghana

Hot on the heels of 2018’s ‘Performance’, White Denim’s latest record is a terse collection of previously unfinished rock tunes, rich in texture, tone and innovation. Though their sound remains fundamentally derivative, there is a lot to like in a short LP that straddles indie, prog, psych and alternative rock.

‘Side Effects’ opens with the rambunctious Small Talk (Feeling Control), a joyous toe tapper made for grungy clubs and highway speeding, before boldly sliding into the spiky Hallelujah Strike Gold. This track snakes around in 5/4, combining shouty megaphone vocals and Frank Zappa guitar riffs. It’s excellent, technical rock, and lays down a marker for the record as full and fast music.

Seemingly knowingly, we then stumble into War on Drugs territory with NY Money. This feels like a quixotic move from a band whose currency has been built on being edgy outsiders. The War on Drugs have become a become a bit of a byword for bland soft-rock over the past 18 months, so pastiching them seems to lack intellectual rigour.

The most likely intention is that White Denim are simply rejoicing in that rich open guitar sound, and creating their own. A more contrived intention could be that they are mocking the sound—showing how easily they can produce it—while inviting their audience to enjoy it ironically. That may be overthinking things, though.

Without skipping a beat, we then move into out-and-out prog rock with Reversed Mirror—the album’s best track. This instrumental lands somewhere between Yes, Thin Lizzy and Steely Dan, and provides the most satisfying craft exercise on the album, with time signature changes, elegant jazz chord switches and—that underused technique—bass and guitar riff matching each-other over several bars. It's great.

As an album, 'Side Effects' remains somewhat lightweight, but as a collection of musical case studies, it is a very well put together bit of work. It may lack a little depth, but it delivers thrills in abundance.





Let Us Know What You Think - Leave A Comment!




Related News

White Denim Announce Summer UK Tour With Support From Boy Azooga
Mon 15 Apr 2019
White Denim will tour the UK this summer.
White Denim Share New Single Reversed Mirror
Tue 26 Feb 2019
Photo: Jo Bongard White Denim have shared another track from their upcoming album, 'Side Effects'.
White Denim Announce Details Of New Album 'Side Effects', Share New Songs Shanalala And NY Money
Thu 31 Jan 2019
Photo: Jo Bongard White Denim have announced their eighth record.
Cate Le Bon - Reward (Album Review)
Tue 04 Jun 2019
Photo: Ivana Kličković Cate Le Bon has never been easy to pin down. Having toured and collaborated with a diverse selection of musicians ranging from St. Vincent to Deerhunter, the Welsh musician and producer could loosely be described as trading in sprawling alt-folk, but that would only tell half the story. On her newest record, ‘Reward’, Le Bon creates a unique world indebted to new wave and jazz as much as it is to contemporary pop and folk acts—all with her own idiosyncratic twist.
Black Mountain - Destroyer (Album Review)
Fri 07 Jun 2019
Photo: Olivia Jaffe Black Mountain’s fifth studio album, ‘Destroyer’, comes in the wake of line-up changes that threw the band’s future into doubt. Following the amicable departure of founding drummer Josh Wells and vocalist Amber Webber, Stephen McBean and Jeremy Schmidt began working on new music that might have eventually fallen under a new name. But that wasn’t to be.
The Hives Announce First Album In Seven Years, Release New Track I'm Alive
Fri 17 May 2019
The Hives are back!
Thurston Moore Announces New Album 'Spirit Counsel'
Fri 17 May 2019
Ahead of his upcoming London show, Thurston Moore has announced a new album.
Mark Ronson Shares New Single Don't Leave Me Lonely Featuring Yebba
Fri 17 May 2019
Mark Ronson has released another song from 'Late Night Feelings'.
 
< Prev   Next >