White Denim | Performance | Album Review

City Slang Records
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

After 2016’s release of Stiff, the band’s sleepy follow up to the acclaimed Corsicana Lemonade, White Denim delivers the unexpected Performance. The album is another half hour of hard-hitting riffs that play into the band’s unique repertoire of garage rock.

The usual White Denim timbre is still found throughout the entire record with plenty of lavish guitar tones. Tracks like “Fine Slime” and “Moves On” develop the dense grooves that the Austin four-piece group performs so well. At the same time, the group incorporates bouncy drum beats that keep the tunes driving. With this comes the attitude that White Denim often presents, found in lyrics like “Gotta interrupt, start serving mush, oh but you call it fine slime.” This lyrical sassiness complements the stimulating rock n roll sound the group brings to the table.

That’s not to say that the album simply reiterates the group’s iconic fuzz-rock sound to a tee. Quite the contrary, accompanying Performance is an assortment of new sounds and genres that invigorate the classic White Denim riffage. Chief among these sounds is a full saxophone section featured on a couple of songs. This includes the opener, “Magazin,” along with the silkier “Double Death,” both of which support those cozy guitar and organ tones that periodically attend Performance.

The production and instrumental technicality associated with the group’s past work reaches new territory on this record as well. Cuts like “Performance,” “Sky Beaming,” and “Backseat Driver,” introduce off-the-wall solo tones that complement technically complex sections. Those tracks also layer in grooves and mellow synthesizers that lay back and even enter territories of jazz and progressive rock. Beyond that, the track “It Might Get Dark,” extrapolates on a country-rock anthem with the implementation of those exotic guitar effects while also including lush harmonies that fill out the tune.

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