White Denim was unlike anything Iâ€™d ever heard before: they were young and modern and hip, yet presented the skill and musicianship of a seasoned vet; their songs were light and simple, while at the same time quick, intricate, and skillfully layered; the sound was ambient and grand, yet rooted in flying fingers that produced tangible, graspable, textured notes. I was hooked.
So–now that the shameless glorifying is out of the way–when I heard that the band was to release their 5th studio album, D, I jumped at the chance to catch a listen. This album is yet another showcase of the bandâ€™s undeniable talent and creativity. Each song melds together beautifully, thanks to the constant aquatic groove that provides an ironically solid base for the album as a whole. Like Last Day of Summer, D has a standout instrumental track (Last Day of Summer actually had two), â€œAt the Farmâ€, so exquisite that vocals would damage its delicate porcelain face. The sounds trickle down and climb up and roll around and keep your ears alert and hungry for detail. D is, in a word, dextrous.
In comparison with Last Day of Summer, this album is a little less funky, if you will, and a little loftier and more ethereal. At times, D feels more exotic and worldly influenced, exemplified by the Latin flare in â€œRiver to Considerâ€; but then steel-tongued licks from songs such as â€œBurnishedâ€ and â€œBeth Streetâ€ bring the sound back to the bandâ€™s rock roots. While there are no instant, throat grabbing jams from this album, such as â€œI Start to Runâ€ from 2009â€™s Fit or Last Day of Summerâ€™s â€œTony Fattiâ€, gems from D such as the opening track â€œItâ€™s Him!â€ and â€œDrugâ€ sneak up on your conscience until you find yourself humming their infectious tunes and slurring attempts at lyrics not yet memorized. Dâ€™s closing track â€œKeysâ€ fills the same role as Last Day of Summerâ€™s â€œNew Coatâ€ (also the closing track): it is the charming little ditty that leaves the listener with a sweetly sentimental lump of sugar in their mouth and a craving for more. So how do you satiate that White Denim hunger? Repeat and enjoy.