Preview: White Denim at Metro Thursday
by MARK GUARINO | Chicago Sun-Times
As South By Southwest prepares to takeoff in Austin, Tex., one of that city’s more adventuresome exports headlines Metro Thursday. White Denim’s latest, “Corsicana Lemonade” (Downtown), was partially produced in Chicago with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy at the helm, and it’s no surprise that the album reflects the strengths of that band: Tricky time signatures, baroque pop gestures, tuneful hooks, and lots of sonic juice.
“New Blue Feeling” showcases singer James Petralli as a singer with depth and wild expression opposed to other spots on the album — the title song in particular — where he sounds like he’s vying for frontman duties of a Black Crowes cover band. This album is at its seductive best when Petralli’s natural powers are unleashed in oddball ways. The playful and psychedelic “Limited By Stature” is a nod to the Kinks at their English best, while “Distant Relative Salute” is dreamier, cresting with power chords that match his vocal might.
But if you want bread-and-butter boogie rock, this band is eager to serve. Twin guitar riffing power “At Night in Dreams,” setting the tone for other songs that grab the baton directly from Little Feet, Thin Lizzy, the Allmans, and, on the prog-rock “Come Back,” Genesis. This band is not precious regarding its influences; it drags them to the mountaintop at the brightest time of day for all to see. Nearly every song brims with that kind of confidence, promising familiarity and delivering in spades.