Released: 24 August 2018
Label: City Slang
White Denim go in hard for glam on their seventh album, but their penchant for psych is never too far from reach and Performance shimmers from end-to-end
There's little doubt that White Denim are firmly rooted in rock, but under which prefix they adopt for each album is where they keep things a little looser. On Performance, their seventh record to date, the Austin quartet have gone in hard for glam, but their penchant for psych is never too far from reach. In addition, their confidence is so clearly on show here, and despite two fresh members for the album they're already tight and unanimous of their vision: "to make interesting, up-tempo rock & roll."
Affection for T-Rex shimmers from end-to-end; frontman James Petralli’s strutting vocals, the bouncing rhythms, and a persistent propensity for the playful echo the seminal 70s group greatly, but it never sounds like they're grasping after Bolan. This is still their own record. To distance themselves from the risk of this parallel, Moves On and album opener Magazin employ a suitable level of scuzz and psychedelia, without going overboard or too far down the rabbit hole, respectively.
Sky Beaming's wobbling guitar, Fine Slime's cheeky groove, or Double Death’s infectious hand clapping and boisterous brass foster a sense that only good times can be had when in the album's company. Their finishing move, Good News, administers a wonderful change of texture on account of its first-act steel string; as it builds to include a wailing electric and sci-fi samples it conjures a palpable feeling of the party winding down, but what it leaves is a promise that when play is pressed again the whole shindig will start anew.