AM-radio flickers and a seventies prog-rock synth blast kick off White Denim’s Performance (City Slang, August 24), leaving no doubt about the band’s fetish for all things retro. Since the mid-aughts, the Austin quartet has been kicking a jukebox filled with psychedelic grooves and white-guy vibrato, the type of sonic bits that you’d expect to be on a “Greatest Albums of All Time” roundup from Rolling Stone. But still, their eighth LP takes old and familiar rock and roll and makes it feel vital and interesting. Songs like “Magazin” have a trove of classic references—T. Rex vocals soar over a bed of greasy Muscle Shoals funk—but they’re executed with an agility that makes them wonderfully hard to pin down. Before any one moment feels stale, Performance always surprises with a rhythmic shift, a bizarre sound effect, a brainy chord change, or a manic key line. The album is all performed with casual virtuosity, and if it’s accompanied by a nostalgia confetti bomb, who are we to complain?

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