White Denim: Stiff

A seventh curveball from the post-blues Austin crazies.

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

The world of blues rock is as known for its unpredictability as Downton Abbey is for its relentless dragon attacks, so Austin’s White Denim are a glorious anomaly. They throw classic soul, psych, experimental loops and punk elements into songs known to get through time signatures like the Kardashians get through nipple tape, and their albums are like Forrest Gump’s chocolate box or a live TV appearance by Shaun Ryder.

This parenthesis-prone seventh album, for instance, opens with a spate of fiery, skew-whiff punk country, with Had 2 Know (Personal) and Holda You (I’m Psycho) coming on like tweaking Friends themes, and the funksome Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah) probably earning them multiple arrests for tambourine abuse.

Then it takes a sharp left turn into Smokey Robinson balladry Take It Easy (Ever After Lasting Love), (I’m The One) Big Big Fun and music for an Easy Rider psych party. There’s A Brain In My Head and Real Deal Momma imagine what Tame Impala might make of Taxman and Not Fade Away respectively, the latter finding singer James Petralli babbling like a ketamine freak about helium balloons, slashed footballs and a horny Nostradamus.

Wild, erratic and out for adventure, your mother warned you not to hang out with albums like this.

Mark Beaumont

Mark Beaumont is a music journalist with almost three decades' experience writing for publications including Classic Rock, NME, The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Times, Uncut and Melody Maker. He has written major biographies on Muse, Jay-Z, The Killers, Kanye West and Bon Iver and his debut novel [6666666666] is available on Kindle.