Monday, October 11, 2010
[pitchfork.com] White Denim quietly dropped the free online release Last Day of Summer just days after summer was over. Guitarist/vocalist James Petralli attached a note to the posting on their homepage, asking that, should you be compelled once you clicked, you please donate some/any cash for an upcoming tour. In addition to confirming that the trio-turned-foursome's (guitarist Austin Jenkins has been welcomed to the fold) next studio LP was within days of being finished, he wrote, "[Last Day of Summer] is something we made as a little summer retreat from our ongoing work on the third full length... We were super pumped to utilize a few fresh and casual musical approaches on this record." So they likened recording to summer vacation; you can feel the freedom shine through in every cut.
Here, White Denim run down some ideas that might not have fit flush in the more pressurized context of a wide release: a couple of jazz instrumentals sidled up next to funk tonics and British folk forays; everything they not so secretly love anyway and all of which congeal into a family of recordings that's still totally, deliciously listenable. "Light Light Light" and Tropicália-tinged "Incaviglia" contain the aforementioned jazz intermission, the former (with production that echoes Modest Mouse) propelled along by a thumpy, roadhouse bass figure and wooly, sometimes atonal sax. They're experiments, fleshed out with great affection and an outside-the-indie-rock-box artistry that makes this band's more straightforward garage jams equally bold.
Elsewhere, you'll find treasure. "Tony Fatti" is predictably twitchy and clipped, the repetitive drive of drummer Josh Block and bassist Steve Terebecki's rhythm section providing strong license for Petralli to color in and outside and all around the lines vocally. "If You're Changing" is a Byrds-indebted strummer that eventually shakes the pretty stuff and breaks into a strut, demonstrating White Denim's ability to sew together different styles. (The flip side is that this band isn't able to contain its many influences.) But what makes Last Day of Summer engaging has as much to do with White Denim's potential future as it does its roots.
— David Bevan, October 11, 2010
Posted by Dan Goldin at 1:35 AM