What is growth without risk? While many bands seem to grow their sound nowadays, few take risks in getting there in a genuine way over by letting an engineer add that growth. It’s been a long time since I was introduced to a young band called White Denim, but in that time they’ve grown into a sound that pulls from the past without sounding like t came from too long ago. On their gutsy new album World As a Waiting Room, they craft an album that was written and recorded in a month. The results are staggering and show that risks often can pay off in the right hands.
This should start by stating something that may upset a few of the old heads, but it rings true when you hear the album. While its a mix of seventies rock and what the industry calls the “Laurel Canyon sound,” it’s also constructed masterfully. In some ways, the band achieves a level of sound that’s not on par with their contemporaries, and sounds closer to an album made by Steely Dan and Grand Funk Railroad than anything modern. The album’s opener is a great example of this. Take the instrumentation on “I Don’t Understand Rock and Roll” as an example. The mix of synths and traditional rock instruments are wielded by those who know how to release the best parts of what they do with a crisp and catchy way.
Of course, if the lead song were all that convey such tone, that would be one thing. But the rest of the album is just as masterfully crafted. The way “Matter of Matter” sounds like you’d hear it out the back of an El Camino, the head bopping melody of “Go Numb” and of course the swaying snap of “DVD” all evoke Southern emotions and summertime beers on the river no matter what’s happening in other places. While “Queen of the Quarantine” has yacht rock nuance and “Eagle Wings” gives you all of the feels, the strongest track is “Work.” Varying between seventies rock jam and the ultimate guitar driven bop, the song has so many layers that it’s like a world of its own. The crisp riffs that mix with the soft and unassuming vocals hone in while the pacing is driven by the band’s own energy. With World As a Waiting Room, White Denim makes their most cohesive release to date without any chatter from the world outside the group’s best intentions. The risk behind committing to this concept is one thing, pulling it off however is only done by those who are at the top of their game.
World As a Waiting Room can be preordered directly from the band on a limited pressing vinyl before its June 01 ship date. It’s also available to purchase digitally or to stream.
Image Credits: Photo by Pooneh Ghana.