Austin, Texas natives White Denim have enjoyed the privilege of being SXSW’s buzz band for two consecutive years. With a less-is-more aesthetic, the three-piece lineup has garnered comparisons from the White Stripes to Pavement, all the while earning equal notoriety for their electric live shows. But this post-punk-psychedelic-blues trio, already two EPs into their career, is looking to move beyond "buzz band" with their first full length LP, Exposion.
Unpredictable, wildly imaginative and thoroughly enjoyable, Exposion’s eleven tracks all harness an unbridled sense of adventure that could easily have become white noise in the hands of lesser musicians. “All Truckers Roll” begins harmlessly enough, with its earnest alt-county acoustic guitar strums, mock-southern twang and call-and-response chorus before launching into a sitar-laden, South Asian rollick. “IEIEIE” opts for an equally unexpected change of course, shifting brilliantly from Mutations-era Beck to a thoughtfully rendered acoustic instrumental.
In fact, unleashing the unexpected and artfully pulling it off is what these boys do best. Similarly to Captain Beefheart’s brilliant Trout Mask Replica, Exposion challenges us to rethink the limitations of a song, and thusly rewards us with an album unlike any other this year.
That isn’t to say Exposion doesn’t have its share of straightforward tracks. “Heart From All of Us” combines guitarist /vocalist James Petralli’s chipper chord progressions with melodies worthy of summer road-trip status. And then there’s “Shake Shake Shake,” with a bass-line borrowed from Babes in Toyland’s “Dust Cake Boy” and a rhythm section so dirty it could shake the dust mites from your roommate’s grungy old pillow. With a record as fresh sounding and effortlessly cool as Exposion, it’s a surprise Apple isn’t already pimping its wares out in their next iPod ad.
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