Rejoice! The ever-prolific White Denim have returned, and in doing so have just delivered an early 2016 highlight, as well as their sexiest album to date. We’re happy to report that ‘Stiff’s nine tracks are enough to get any red blooded creature hot under the collar with its blistering combo of blues rock, old school funk and soul.
The Texan’s kick off with breakneck speed on ‘Had 2 Know’, a signature blend of guitar fury and sing-a-long lyrics that sets the tone for this party. Lead single ‘Ha Ha Ha Ha, Yeah’ sounds as if it’s stepped straight out of a ‘70s club and is an absolute delight, Jeff Olson’s skin work elevating the song into greatness. The following ‘Holda You (I’m Psycho)’ revisits the tone of 2013’s belting ‘Corsicana Lemonade’, fiddly licks mixing with a more punk assault for hip-shakingly good time.
‘Take It Easy’ slows proceedings right down, frontman James Petralli reaching his higher register for a soulful and saucy tale of finding that right lady as Steven Terebecki’s bass walks wherever it pleases. ‘(I’m The One) Big Big Fun’ continues the lustful vibes, narratively moving on from the wooing stage to getting down and dirty. If there’s a song that can truly be labeled as ‘cool’, in the purest form of the word, this is it.
A southern stomp is reinstated with ‘Real Deal Momma’, an imagery filled number that shares DNA with the stream of conscious approach beloved on ‘Blonde on Blonde.’ The starting four-string riff on ‘Mirrored In Reverse’ will prove mouth watering to any fan of guitar music, this most raucous moment of the record filled with big cymbals and big chords propelling the melody into a freakish solo.
Working with an external producer for the first time, Ethan Johns (Laura Marling, The Staves) has clearly done no damage, the band’s live potency here caught perfectly. The group stated they wanted to get back to basics and make a ‘good time record’, they’ve easily succeed, but ‘Stiff’ also offers a band who continue to push their influences and have gigantic amount of energy left in the tank. Round of applause lads…round of applause.
Words: Sam Walker-Smart
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