WHITE DENIM D (Downtown) 

On their fourth album, Texas quartet White Denim fashion a kind of modern take on prog and psych. Sounding like a streetwise version of The Grateful Dead circa “Anthem Of The Sun” and “Aoxomoxoa”, their sinewy, twisty songs pile layer upon layer of interesting ideas, the result dense but often perhaps more clever than memorable, the cover’s cut-and-paste montage a neat analogue for the music it contains.


When it works, such as on the mellifluous and very Dead-y instrumental “At The Farm” the results can be very pleasing, but generally the album’s least complex moments, when they relax long enough to play a complete song unadorned without over-embellishing it, are the best. Into this category fall the haunted and haunting “Street Joy”, “Drug” and the almost straightforward country honk of “Keys”. Midway through “It’s Him!” the band appropriate the breaks from “Whole Lotta Love” with a Southern rock drawl. “Bess St.” delivers the album’s most addictive chorus before collapsing into twiddliness, and “River To Consider” sours its scurrying musical invention – being a kind of psychedelic cut-up samba – with a blanket of arch aloofness.


 In fact the latter might be key to why the album doesn’t quite hit the spot: sonically it’s a bit opaque, shrouded in a muddled confusion that distances it from the listener just as much as its melodic divergence does. “D” is an album that impresses rather than endears, being rather less than the sum of its considerable, eclectic jumble sale pile-up of parts.