Friday, 1 November 2013

Album Review:White Denim – Corsicana Lemonade

(Full Time Hobby)

Sometimes a band comes along that reminds you of the simple joy of a straight forward rock band. White Denim are that band, the kind that will make you think that guitar solos shouldn't be a guilty pleasure, though to call them a straight forward band is a disservice, even with their use of offbeat melodies and the time signature changes of progressive rock they manage to stick to three to four minute songs. The band utilises twin guitar harmonies, rolling drum fills, big riffs and bigger choruses. There are always a slew off young bands looking to the era where rock music reigned, but many only serve to highlight the genre's clichés, White Denim mostly manage to bypass this pitfall, taking in more contemporary sounds and complex song writing. You can hear elements of other acts, with Portugal. The Man's streamlined math-rock and Tame Impala's psychedelic leaning pop experiments. White Denim's fifth album Corsicana Lemonade sees them continue the path they’ve followed with their last releases, but here there's a real sense of a band being comfortable and assured in their sound and capabilities.

At Night In Dreams wastes no time before laying down the album's first great riff, before jumping right into a verse that Marc Bolan would be proud of. The song is held together by some impressive drum playing that leads to some seamless changes between rhythms mid way through before the group indulge in a quick solo. The title track feels a little bit light by comparison with its almost country leaning guitar lines, though its laid back groove oozes cool it doesn't bring the same urge to head bang like a loon.

New Blue Feeling has more than a little of the glam rock of Bowie's Ziggy Stardust or Diamond Dogs. Jumping between half speed and quick tempos and featuring more than a little guitar theatrics. Come Back is filled with quick-paced pentatonic licks, coming across like a less bloated Lynyrd Skynyrd whilst the curiously titled Distant Relative Salute features what might be the album's biggest chorus and on album full of big choruses and the kind of fast paced drum that tires you out just trying to follow it. The soulful A Place To Start winds down the album with some of the of singer/guitarist James Petralli's most direct and relatable lyrics laid out over a cool groove. As the lyrics concern being honest with yourself it could easily become cheesy but its delivered with sincerity and simplicity, along with the kind of tenderness you often find in the best soul music, that makes for one of the best tracks on the album.

At the centre of the Corsicana is Let It Feel Good is unashamedly positive with it's upbeat chorus of 'If it feels good/Let it feel good to you', recalling the major key power-rock of Fang Island, and its easy to see this as a mantra that the band live by with there music. There are the odd moments that can be reminiscent of middle of the road radio rock, but the White Denim probably doesn't care, they're to busy enjoying themselves and that joy is infectious.

Whilst the group is technically impressive, they never come across as overly showy. The guitar solos are to the point and never lose touch with the melody. Instead the song writing is where the band are most radical, their songs comprised of interesting structures, always taking unexpected turns. White Denim have crafted something that echoes another era but sounds contemporary but much more importantly, Corsicana Lemonade is just a real fun listen.

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