01/23/2012 Impressions Three Listens In: With D, White Denim appear to be on a near identical artistic trajectory as Portland's Blitzen Trapper, whom also started their careers embracing a madly unpredictable eclecticism, but have gradually evolved into a straight-up country-rock act with a classic, Poco-ish late 60s/early 70s feel.
Here, White Denim seems to be aiming for a slightly different sound...the more jammy flavor of late 60s psychedelic, CA-based country rockers like The Grateful Dead, Moby Grape, and The Buffalo Springfield, with maybe a dash of Jethro Tull thrown in for good measure...but otherwise the comparison with Blitzen Trapper holds. D is White Denim's most conventional album yet.
It is also easily their best, with a cleaned up though hardly glossed-over sound, and an energy level, that though toned-down, is still quite high when compared to most bands.
The short yet often multi-parted songs aren't consistently great, but most do contain a great moment or two...a surprise instrumental turn, an awesome chorus, a knockout solo... leading to a very appealing overall feel greater than the sum of the album's parts. And when the band does sustain a top level idea for the duration of a track, as on the instrumental At The Farm, the woozy, summer-of-lovish Drug, or the kicking Bess St., the results are excellent.
So if you like your music terse, jammy, and fun, with an easy, slightly Southern-fried feel, I would definitely give D a listen. Feeling at worst a mid-to-low solid recommend on this after three listens. Will use remaining listens to lock in on final ratings for the songs.
Projected Status: Low Solid.
Cherry Picker's Best Bets after three listens: At The Farm, Drug, Bess St., Keys.
Here's the official video for one of the album's mellowest tracks, Street Joy.
Component Breakdown after three listens:
1. It's Him - 6 or 7
2. Burnished - 6 or 7
3. At The Farm - 8
4. Street Joy - 7
5. Anvil Everything - ?
6. River To Consider - 7 or 8
7. Drug - 7 or 8
8. Bess St. - 9
9. Is And Is And Is - ?
10. Keys - 7 or 8
Intangibles: Above Average.
Listen on Spotify / I-Tunes
What are your thoughts on White Denim's D?