For their eighth release, Austin rocker's White Denim pick up the threads left over from 2016's 'Stiff' and have delivered yet another set of up-tempo jams. Keeping to the back-to-basics boogie that made numbers such as "Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah)" such a standout two years back, 'Performance' sees the quarter on tight and mischevious form.
From the off, it's clear that frontman James Petralli's lyrical prowess and soulful swagger have only increased over time, retro synth work also adding some new depth to the group's heady mix of psych, funk and Southern rock. Being White Denim, the guitar licks still come in thick and fast, but there's less showing off apparent, a laid-back charm leading the majority of the numbers.
With eight albums being released in eight years, the band's evolution has been a heady one, and it's only fair that they took a moment to refine their latest incarnation. After losing drummer Josh Block and guitarist Austin Jenkins in 2015, Petralli and bassist Steve Terebecki had the job of rebooting the band.
Now with their own studio, a new deal with City Slang and two fresh players, keyboardist Michael Hunter and drummer Conrad Choucroun, the band look ready for even bigger things. While there is some tonal similarity over the majority of the tracks, the group's drive and immediacy help elevate any nagging feelings of boredom. It's good time music made by good people, songs to accompany BBQ's, booze and the company of those that make you smile.
From the strutting rhythm of opener 'Magazin' to the Laurel Canyon infused closer 'Good News', the band never seem less than ready to get the party started. For a four-piece rock band from Texas, they still remain pretty difficult to classify and almost impossible to ignore. Play loud and enjoy.
Words: Sam Walker-Smart
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