White Denim has been around for a while, 10 years to be exact, but their latest full-length release entitled Stiff sounds like a group of friends having the time of their lives. At just 35 minutes total, Stiff is jam-packed with nine tracks that will really kick your ass and get you moving. It also marks White Denim’s first release with two new members: Jeffery Olson on drums and Jonathan Horne on guitar. The record was produced by Ethan Johns (Paul McCartney, Ryan Adams, Kings of Leon). You can hear some rejuvenation in the music, these guys sound like they’re champing at the bit to get on stage and rock these songs in front of a live crowd. Personally, I’ve never been to a White Demin show, but I’d imagine it’s one hell of a time.
The album kicks off with a few super high-energy tracks that would get you through your cardio routine at the gym or would serve as awesome party tunes. “Be yourself, and try to have a good time” sings lead vocalist James Petralli over frenetic drumming and catchy guitar riffs on the second song “Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah)”. The energy keeps on into the third track, “Holda You (I’m Psycho)” which is driven by a distorted bass line and includes an interesting bridge of flourishing guitars and a kick drum that builds up to a huge instrumental coda.
The second half of the record sees a few lyrically driven tunes that let Petralli showcase his vocal versatility. The energy is high throughout though, and the technical work of this group of musicians is impressive.
The members of White Denim are masters at what they do. Stiff is a great example of the great music amazing artists can produce when the time is right and there is no pressure to do anything but have fun. The band has accomplished that and then some.