There’s a lot going on throughout the 38-minutes that comprise Corsicana Lemonade, White Denim’s sixth LP, and third since expanding to a quartet with the addition of guitarist Austin Jenkins. The Austin, Texas-based band has long specialized in chaotic and harried jams that burst forth with snippets of kinetic energy. Where one song stops and another begins is often unclear, resulting in long, free-form propulsions of sound. Although that can sound a bit jarring, White Denim’s music excels in this capacity. By dialing back on the introspection, and buffering the auditory tones, they’re a band that has succeeded with vibe and chops as they specialize in exciting journeys that take listeners in several different directions.
Over the course of Corsicana Lemonade, these directions run the gamut of musical spectrums. Certain numbers, most notably, opening track “At Night In Dreams” and late album blister “Pretty Green” work off a hardscrabble ‘70’s classic rock boilerplate, all guitars and soaring choruses, perfect for blaring out the windows of a Camaro in some forlorn suburban parking lot. There are some Black Keys-ish jock-jam stylings in the ultra-catchy “Come Back” that would sound right at home in a Miller Lite ad, while “Let It Feel Good (My Eagles)” snappily breezes along on a whimsical note, heeding its’ own title’s advice as lead singer James Petralli scat sings “if it feels good, just let it feel good to you”.
The title track and its’ follow-up, “Limited By Stature” hold closest to the nervy energy that emanates from the bulk of the band’s past catalog, as Petralli’s narrators ruminate over decisions that need to be made, while Jenkins’ guitar, Steve Terebecki’s bass, and Josh Block’s drumming propel the songs into overdrive. And, of particular note, there’s the involvement of Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, who invited the band to his Chicago loft for some of the album’s recording and helmed the production duties for two tracks: “Distant Relative Salute” and album-closing “A Place To Start”, both of which amble along with a jazzy and mellow confidence, incorporating just slight hints of Tweedy’s impeccable tastes into the dynamics.
The songs on this album stand on their own and comprise a solid addition to the White Denim collection, which, by the way, is stacking up nicely as a formidable discography. For a band that pays quite a few musical homages, it’s a testament to their talent and inspiration that the influences augment the sound rather than overwhelm. It’s exciting and versatile music that borrows a few past tricks but resists an expiration date.