Monday, 13 October 2008

White Denim - Workout Holiday (Full Time Hobby 2008)

There I was standing in the front of the newly opened Star of Bethnal Green a few months ago waiting for the serene tones of Martina Topley-Bird to grace my ears when the opening band, a huge buzz band from SXSW emerged onstage, didn't introduce themselves and then launched into the most visceral gonzo garage rock I'd ever seen in my life. The singer's quiet demeanour, the bassist's teenage glee and the Keith Moon stylings of the drummer all leant a massive degree of personality to this acutely brilliant band. It was only the next day that we found out who the frick they were: White Denim. Bad name, awesome tunes.

Their first effort, the sublime and stomping 'Workout Holiday' is a jam-filled epic of garage punk that would make Iggy, MC5, White Stripes, Jon Spencer, Jon Spencer's Blues Explosion and Devo all take notice. Despite the songs being largely lyric-free and jam-filled, there is a wit and humour to their songs, from 'Mess Your Hair Up' to 'Darksided Computer Mouth'. Even though they are a band with few words, their knowledge and easy deconstruction of their instruments is full of texture and brilliant. From the bassist's throbbing low-ends to the jamming guitar rocking everywhere up and down the fretboard to the eccentric drummer's versatile thumping and pounding of the skins, in different styles and patterns, all bringing the hardness and the loudness, they are a formidable band. Passionate, fervent raw garagey-bluesy indie rock augmented with unusual sound effects and off-kilter changes of pace and direction. There's a lo-fi amateur enthusiast feel to proceedings but you can tell they mean it. They're going to be huge, already chosen to soundtrack Channel 4 adverts and DIY shows so get on board quickly before they start worrying about turning their effortless jamming and freestyle nature into a generic song format.

Shame about the name though.

White Denimspace

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