Charles Caleb Colton, the 19th century writer and cleric, said that “applause is the spur of noble minds”.
This should please White Denim, because while the punch-drunk, exhilarating ‘grog-rock’ (a mixture of 60’s garage and 70’s progressive rock,
according to drummer Josh Block) White Denim of their debut album ‘Workout Holiday’
did prompt standing ovations from seemingly every single rock critic in the northern hemisphere,
it did not quite lead to similar adoration from the average indie punter, let
alone to sales figures reflecting the album’s critical acclaim.
Will ‘Fits’ fare better in the profit department? If it does, that certainly won’t be down to a newly found restraint on the part of the Texans.
The metre-defying rhythms, singer/ guitarist James Petralli’s sprawling noise-rockriffs and the almost nonchalant musical namedropping (from art punk favourites Minutemen and Devo to “untouchables” like Jimi Hendrix)
are all still there, along with, a hit to rival 2008’s ‘Let’s talk about it’ in the driving, bluesy ‘I Start to Run’.
Instrumental ‘Sex Prayer’ is a song that would have fitted perfectly onto
‘Electric Ladyland’, and the mellow ‘Paint Yourself’ could be an Animal Collective song… if they went through a jazz bootcamp run by Keith Moon.
There is negligible change in the production the album was recorded in the same Spartan trailer that gave birth to its predecessor but there is a confidence in
White Denim’s playing that suggests they are happy to keep doing stuff in their very own noisy way, public acclaim be damned.
Good on them, because according to Colton, applause is also “the end and aim of weak ones”.
Working outside of a conventional four piece, each member has a personal
responsibility to bring something to the party and it’s a blueprint that’s serving the band well.
“We all do our separate bits and we tend to our songs in their own parts. We
very rarely all sit down together and work on a track,” says Mark.
With an appearance at the recent Radio 1 Big Weekend under their belts, and festival dates strewn across the summer, the bigger stages certainly beckon, as does an EP.
“It was a tough crowd [at the Radio 1 weekend].
We were playing at the same time as people like Franz Ferdinand and Gossip so it was quite difficult to compete.
It was a great weekend though and we got a good feeling for playing to crowds that big.
It was good to have that kind of warm up, if you like, for being on bigger stages.”
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