White Denim: Living up to the hype?

Being new to Austin, I’m still learning a lot about the music scene here, always getting new local band recommendations. Among the bands I’ve been turned onto was White Denim, a band getting a lot of buzz around the blogosphere. So I was surprised when I listened to their latest release “Anvil Everything” and found myself pretty underwhelmed. The circular guitar riff at the beginning drew me in but the rest of the song never seemed to do much. There are some nice parts but I was never really grabbed by the song.

White Denim - Anvil Everything
I was fully prepared to write a disappointed post – I’d even begun working on a ‘Beige Khaki’ pun, get it?!—when I put on their 2007 Let’s Talk About It E.P. This time, I was blown away. The jittery guitar work and yelping vocals feel like a Garage Rock-Post Punk love child. The frenetic energy really surprised me. The songs “Mess Your Hair Up” and “Lets Talk About It” are particularly good.
I dug even more and discovered entire albums of great music. The propulsive single “I Start to Run” from 2009’s Fits and the hard country rock feel of 2008 digital release “Goldie Locks” are just two highlights. Both carry a raw sense of mischievous fun, like all the bands I imagined starting up after pounding through the first two Stooges albums.

The strange thing for me is how different this new release sounds. “Anvil Everything” is nice and at times even interesting, but their kinetic feel seems to have been lost all together. I understand why White Denim has generated so much buzz, but I worry about the direction this song heralds for the upcoming album D. It’s never a good sign when you hope the album doesn’t sound like the lead single.