Sunday, December 16, 2007

White Williams--Smoke (2007)

Artist-White Williams
Release Date-Nov 6, 2007
Genre/Style-Indie Rock/Indie Electronic


Review-Joe Williams may be based in Cleveland and New York City, but Smoke shows that White Williams' heart resides in a fantasy version of '70s England, where glam rock, punk, electronics, and sleaze, detachment, and wit reign supreme. White Williams' music has drawn comparisons to contemporaries from Beck to Vampire Weekend, but the inclusive playfulness of Brian Eno's early solo albums feels like a more relevant touchstone for this album's friendly experimentalism — like Eno, Williams combines the really weird and the really poppy so that they complement each other instead of competing with each other. "In the Club" pairs gritty, glittery glam rock guitars and electro-pop irony so that they sound perfect, and perfectly natural together; "Danger" takes glam's infamous slow shuffle beat and surrounds it with short-circuiting synths. Smoke's palette of sounds is pretty remarkable, with guitars that shimmy, bounce, and buzz colliding with oddly childlike backing vocals and synths that sparkle and crackle. Everything sounds like it's been slicked in oil or wrapped in spandex, to the point where "Going Down"'s paranoid pop feels as though it could slip right off the album. It's Smoke's nonstop catchiness that makes it really special, however. Though "Lice in the Rainbow" closes the album with a burst of streaky and insectoid synths, even this tangent hovers around the length of a classic pop song. Meanwhile, "Route to Palm" and "Fleetwood Crack" have winsome melodies that feel strangely familiar, and make the sexily aloof cover of "I Want Candy" blend in even more seamlessly with the rest of Smoke. "Headlines" could be a long-lost single from the late '70s, while "New Violence"'s glistening new wave finds inspiration from just a few years later. Crucially, though, Smoke never sounds dated or rehashed — instead, it's a fresh, consistently creative, and consistently listenable debut.

Product-buy it here

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