Saturday, August 20, 2011

White Denim Get Exposion

One of the hottest buzz bands, if not the hottest, in 2008 was White Denim. This Austin, Texas group came out of South by Southwest and essentially set the world on fire creating an uproar in the blogosphere and generating more press than a Chicago political corruption case. It really shouldn't have come as a surprise or undeserved as White Denim had been quietly toiling away since their inception in 2005 plotting their rise to fame.

Well here it is in 2009 and the time is right for White Denim to explode. Taking their popularity by the horns, the band have completed their debut album, Exposion and released it upon the world. Was it worth the wait and worth the hype? Hmm, I'm not sure about that to be honest, but Exposion is a good indie rock record that actually sounds more like the current crop of New York bands than anything that's come out of Texas recently.

Perhaps a bit like Vampire Weekend or a less keyboard driven MGMT, White Denim are an excitable hard to contain group that jumps around genres and song structures as if they were playing hopscotch. Despite the quick jumps and changes, this lack of self control and constant desire to switch gears mid song is what really makes them so entertaining. They are unpredictable and just quirky enough to make it seem as though all music is supposed to be like this. Amazingly, throughout all this foolishness, the band never loses site of it's pop sensibility framing all of this randomness into the form of melodies, harmonies, and songs you can't forget.

Exposion's rarely calm songs center around spiky or strummed guitars, horns, quirky rhythms, strange vocal chants, and a bit of a psychedelic vibe. On paper it reads and sounds like it wouldn't be all that appealing, but in actuality it does and White Denim do a good job of turning songs that should be bad into something addictively good. "Don't Look That Way At It," for example, should really be one of the most annoying songs ever with it's "Yah Yah Yah," refrain, but instead it's hypnotically effective as approximately fifteen different rhythms make up the song and keep it moving forward. It's an exhausting little tune and it's the first one on the album.  That being said, you don't even want to get me started on their instrumentals.

They might have been over hyped, but White Denim are a good band worthy of your attention. Exposion is a fine effort of quirky hard to pin down pop that jumps around like a boxer on defense. It's a bit weird and a bit off center but it's pretty good and definitely worth a listen or twelve.

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