Wednesday, 23 March 2016

White Denim 'Stiff' (ALBUM REVIEW)

"The rather splendid ‘Stiff’ is bought to a close by the appropriately titled ‘Thank You’ again a song that rapidly metamorphoses, veering from skittish jazz-rock to shimmering lounge tinged soul..."



My first encounter with White Denim back in 2012 coincided with the newly augmented and pretty handy four-piece releasing their latest long-player “D”, an album with more than its fair share of fine moments. So, imagine my surprise and delight when recently hearing new WD single ‘Holda You (I’m Psycho)’, a blistering thunderbolt underpinned with a killer bassline, immediately grabbing you by the bollocks, and tailor made to be played at full blast in your car whilst driving like Hunter Thompson. Oddly enough, the second half of the song contains echoes of 'Down Down’…so it’s not altogether surprising that listening to ‘Holda You….’ gives you an involuntary urge to nod your head like a dyed in the wool Quo fan.

Not surprisingly, the thought of reviewing the new White Denim release ‘Stiff’ has one appropriately nursing the proverbial semi, particularly as follow up single ‘Ha-Ha Ha-Ha (Yeah)’ is a  slice of taut blue-eyed soul that could make a corpse’s hips wiggle. The above two numbers are preceded on ‘Stiff’ by an equally furiously groovy opener ‘Had 2 Know (Personal)’ with taut verses, expansive fuzzy choruses giving a definite 70s sun-drenched west coast feel.


After the opening humdingers, the very retro sounding ‘Stiff’ provides some well-deserved respite in the form of the colour drenched ‘There’s a Brain in my Head’, the surprisingly disarming slowie ‘Take it Easy (Ever After Lasting Love)’, sounding like it could have been created at Hitsville USA, followed by the soothing gospel tinged funk of ‘I’m the One (Big Big Fun)’ with its Paisley Park overtones. Interestingly, on repeated hearing, all of the slower numbers turn out to be real growers too.

The final third of the album returns us back to up-tempo land, the country blues of ‘Real Deal Momma’ boasting a corking little rockabilly shuffle in the chorus, not forgetting antique electronica floating nicely around the edges. ‘Mirrored In Reverse’ is a more straight ahead road trip rocker spread across a sea of interesting and subtle time changes with some pretty meaty riffs thrown in, expertly underpinned by yet another simple but effective bassline.

The rather splendid ‘Stiff’ is bought to a close by the appropriately titled ‘Thank You’ again a song that rapidly metamorphoses, veering from skittish jazz-rock to shimmering lounge tinged soul, the band pulling it off yet again, if you’ll pardon the pun.

Words - Mike Price

Stiff is released on March 25th via Downtown Records / Sony Music RED

White Denim official


Tracklisting;

1. Had 2 Know (Personal)
2. Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah)
3. Holda You (I’m Psycho) 
4. There’s A Brain In My Head 
5. Take It Easy (Ever After Lasting Love)
6. (I’m The One) Big Big Fun 
7. Real Deal Momma 
8. Mirrored In Reverse
9. Thank You