I gotta say, I was a little concerned when I listened to the mid-albums EP “Takes Place in Your Workspace” because although I enjoyed it, I thought that the most psychedelic Texans of all psychedelic Texans would have given up their weird little rock to go into smoother, funkier directions. But “At Night In Dreams”, the opener to their new album “Corsicana Lemonade” dissolves all doubt in a sugary, swirly treat of psyched out art-rock beauty that sounds great on the record and will turn your brain into liquorice in a live setting.
One of the things I look for in pretty much everything and everyone I encounter is ambition. It doesn’t necessarily have to lead to success but if people don’t have a certain drive to do/achieve/create something, whatever they do will always lack a certain something. And boy, if ambition succeeds, it is a delight. White Denim are an afternoon delight at that. They do the kind of music that smoothly swirls into numerous directions and manages to surprise you. I didn’t manage once to listen to one of their albums without smiling because their willingness to travel into the Zappa-oddness of seemingly chaotic but highly orchestrated rock is both beautiful and humorous. “Humorous?”, you might think, and I will nod and smile knowingly. “Yes, humorous” because a lot of humor derives from surprise and White Denim always surprise with great big solos, little details, awesome melodies and Classic Rock moments of epic proportions (I won’t name the song because I don’t want to spoil anything but there is one heavy, sweet-sauce of a Classic Rock Moment to conclude a song on this album that will make you want to wear super tight jeans and grow a moustache at once).
This is a tightly knit band who lets every single instrument shine (and has one of the very few rockstar-bassists to give bass-players a good reputation as musical masterminds) and whereas their last album “D” leaned into flowery pop directions of the late 60s, “Corsicana lemonade” starts with high-tempo artrock to knock your socks off and then spins around in all directions without ever losing the ground.
As someone, who endured roughly 10 Zappanale-festivals with numerous bands that covered and/or sounded like Frank Zappa, let me say this: It’s oh so rare to have the musical circus of Zappa without the endless showing off of musical abilities. WD don’t need to show off. They have it. They show it with every earworm (“Come Back” is an immediate hit to feel like a sexy mofo), every smooth RnB-piece that slowly circles its way up to a prog-dish, every good-natured composition and boy, is this album uplifting.
I know that we all love to pull out all the melancholic, depressive albums in autumn because it feels so good to wallow in self-pity but in case you’d like to not turn every day into a Morrissey-quote, just put on this album and turn that frown upside down. It will make you so happy that you don’t even want to punch me for using that lame phrase that only horrible people say.
If you like prog-rock, art-rock or just any late 60s, early 70s-rock, then it will be really really hard to dislike this album. It will be so hard, that you won’t even try to dislike it, even Sisyphus would be like ‘Fuck it, I am liking this, I don’t have the energy to dislike it’. Even Tom Hanks would be like, ‘Damn, I can’t think of anything or anyone that/who is more likeable than this album.’
Oh, and that last song, “A Place to Start”? Best outro ever to dive right back into it again…