White Denim


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Like the Minutemen, White Denim are a versatile and wholly original trio and never appear to be trying that hard. They're not pretty-faced rockers with aspirations of fame and fortune. They're the beer-drinking sort, who just picked up instruments and formed a band because they could; dudes first and foremost, musicians second. But the kicker is that they're astonishingly good. Texas bandmates Josh Block, Steve Terebecki, and James Petralli have a binding chemistry and a willingness to shift styles at the drop of a hat, as they tear through garage punk to free jazz to psychedelic to prog -- sometimes in the course of a single song. Fits is an appropriate title for White Denim's debut, not just because of the fabric reference, but also because the album is a big heaping pile of nervous fits. The snappy "I Start to Run" begins with stark bass and drums and turns into spazzy blues-based Nuggets rock, before falling into an abyss of prog-on-peyote scales. "Sex Prayer" is a blend of dubby delays and organ rock that becomes increasingly trippy, complete with a head-fake fadeout around the three-minute mark. Meanwhile, the furiously thrashing "El Hard Attack DCWYW," with its Latino-punk eruption, is stark contrast to the acoustic sweetness of "Regina Holding Hands." Fits seems custom-made for vinyl, with a second half that sounds like the works of a completely different band. Side one is more rambunctious (with stoner rock and garage twists), and side two is more sweet (with elements of soul, alternative, and '70s AM rock). Neither half is at all traditional, though. A weird psychedelic mindset is woven through everything, and even though everything constantly seems on the verge of combustion, the songs on Fits always manage to hold together and work themselves out with exciting, engaging results.

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