White Denim | Exposion
Most Likely To: further legitimize digital only releases.
One of the best things about Exposion, the debut full-length from Austin, TX trio White Denim, is that it is tough to categorize. White Denim takes a bunch of blues-tinged puzzle pieces and assembles a record that may well sound as good in a decade as it does today. Exposion is worth a (legal) download because it shows what three scruffy guys like James Petralli (vocals, guitar), Joshua Block (bass), and Steve Terebecki (drums) can do with two chords, scratchy vocals, and a stomping rhythm section. White Denim takes the expected chord progressions and song structures that could reek of their progenitors and repurposes them into tongue-in-cheek numbers that feel new.
Front man James Petralli sings on “Transparency,” “I just want to be / a transparency / a big old light shining right through me.” And it’s probably unavoidable; there is a certain amount of transparency on Exposion. Even after they’ve rearranged the blues tropes into a playful lot of tunes, Exposion still feels familiar. But because they borrow from a wide range of artists the familiarity is comfortable without feeling like a rip-off. They give a nod to contemporaries like the Strokes (“You Can’t Say”) and the many guises of Ian Svevonius (“All You Really Have to Do”), but remain grounded in early rock influences from the Velvet Underground (“Heart From us All”) to MC5 (“Shake Shake Shake”). The opening track, “Don’t Look That Way at it” blends David Byrne squawks and polyrhythms with Nick Valensi-style guitar. But while influences crop up on nearly every track Exposion can still surprise, as it does near the record’s end with “Migration Wind,” an exploratory instrumental that would have fit right in on the last Sea and Cake record.
Exposion follows several 7” singles and EPs including their well-received Let’s Talk About It EP. White Denim have made a name for themselves since they debuted last year through a grueling, festival-heavy tour schedule, so don’t miss it when they come to your town, and don’t forget the ear plugs.