Reviews

White Denim
Side Effects

(City Slang)

6/10

Austin rockers White Denim wasted no time returning to the studio after rediscovering their groove on last year’s ‘Performance’. Loosely steered by vocalist James Petralli, their ninth LP ‘Side Effects’ brings together a long list of contributors in a careening attempt to capture the fizzing energy of a White Denim live show.

The album makes its intentions clear when ‘Small Talk (Feeling Control)’ bursts out of the gate, impatient to show off its brazen ’70s-inspired riffs and vocals. Petralli delivers a barrage of one-line metaphors on ‘Hallelujah Strike Gold’, a turbulent track marked by distorted vocals and saxophone squeals. Electronic twitches build a sense of paranoia on ‘Shanalala’, before the near seven-minute-long ‘NY Money’ signals a moment of reflection. By far the longest track on an otherwise frenetic album, it achieves depth with spacious guitar lines inspired by the band’s time on tour with The War On Drugs.

The album’s busy feel is effective on some tracks: bubbling acoustic instrumental ‘Out of Doors’ is full of life, while ‘So Emotional’ pinballs until it finally settles on a groove around a one-note bend. Ultimately, though, ‘Side Effects’ lacks cohesion as a result of the sheer number of ideas jammed into it. Committed fans will appreciate the live feel of psychedelic instrumental ‘Reversed Mirror’, but the repetitive ‘Head Spinning’ adds little to the album’s arc. White Denim can still intrigue, as proven by the choppy funk of final track ‘Introduce Me’. Their keenness to do everything at once, however, holds them back on this undeniably fun ride.

Support Loud And Quiet from £3 per month and we'll post you our next 9 magazines

As all of us are constantly reminded, it’s getting harder for independent publishers to stay in business, which applies to Loud And Quiet more now than ever, 14 years after we first started printing a magazine that we’ve always given away for free.

Having thought about the best way to support our running costs (the printing and distribution fees, the podcast and production costs etc.) we’d like to ask our readers who really enjoy what we do to subscribe to our next 9 issues over the next 12 months. The cheapest we can afford to do this for works out at £3 per month for UK subscribers, charged yearly.

If that seems like a bit of a punt, you can pay-as-you-go for £4 per month and cancel any time you like. European and world plans are available too, at the lowest rate we can afford.

It’s not just a donation – you’ll receive a physical copy of our magazine through your door and some extra perks detailed on our subscribe page. Digital subscriptions are available worldwide for £15 per year. We hope you consider this a good deal and the best way to keep Loud And Quiet in your life without its content, independence or existence suffering.