D

D

Imagine a pinball machine where the ball never drops out of play, slamming into one far-flung target after another, over and over again. It would be thrilling—until the careering gave you whiplash. Austin’s White Denim, a power trio turned quartet, are nimble players with the sort of hinky synchronicity that comes from rehearsing exhaustively and obsessing over the same formative influences. Their bag of tricks is deep—brittle rhythms, brake-slamming tempo changes, Afrobeat-like percussive guitar interplay, and influences ranging from Led Zeppelin and jam bands to post-punk and prog rock. The trouble is, they dump the entire trick bag out on virtually every song. Their latest, D (Downtown Records), is brimming with too many bright ideas. “Burnished” finds, and loses, an Allman Brothers/Grateful Dead vibe before, like so many tracks on the album, wandering off into the woods. “Bess St.” seems similarly lost, its epic movements never coming together. “River to Consider” shifts gears once more, to African rhythms (Graceland-era Paul Simon seems to be the template), while the over-the-top fusion on the instrumental “At the Farm” plays more like mathematics than music. Singer James Petralli is a precise guitarist with an airy, arresting voice, but he and the band work best when they aren’t displaying all their wares. The most compelling songs here—the dubby “Street Joy,” the slow-building “Keys,” and the driving and cohesive “Drug”—remind one of Walt Disney’s sage advice: Always leave them wanting more.

More Texas Monthly

Loading, please wait...

Most Read

  • Viewed
  • Past:
  • 1 week