White Denim: Side Effects
White Denim has been on a songwriting kick recently, rapidly turning out new music without losing quality for the sake of quantity. The Austin band’s eighth album, Side Effects , arrives less than a year after 2018’s Performance . It’s always interesting to hear a band’s inthe-moment evolution between albums—particularly when they drop this close together—and White Denim embraces a free-spirited, loose vibe on these new tracks, taking a more experimental route than on Performance . There’s a real sense of the band’s vibrant live performances here and the songs vary drastically in tone and length, much like an onstage rendition might. “NY Money,” the album’s centerpoint, spans nearly seven minutes, meandering with spazzy riffs and cacophonic rhythms, while “Out of Doors” captures a twanging acoustic guitar for just over a minute. If the aesthetic varies throughout, then it is probably because remaining cofounding members James Petralli and Steve Terebecki swapped in musicians depending on the song and on what they were going for sonically. Their current live formation, which includes new recruits Michael Hunter and Greg Clifford, created “NY Money,” which explains its particular stage sensibility. Occasionally, Side Effects feels insider, like it’s referencing things the casual listener might not get. But that fades on subsequent listens, and the songs pull you further and further in as the erratic layers begin to make more sense. It’s a good album that will make for a great show.