Everyone’s plans are changing. Hearing their spring tour was canceled, the Austin quartet came up with an ambitious alternative. Instead of sitting around fretting, White Denim launched a plan to write and record an entire album in thirty days, releasing it on April 17th, which would have been their final show of the tour. World As A Waiting Room is the result, a shambolic, rocket-fueled nine-song collection that never really comes up for air. The band got basic tracks done in their own Radio Milk Studios, but Austin’s subsequent stay-at-home order made things even more complicated. While James Petrali worked on vocals at Milk, he roped in everyone else remotely, including all stuck-at-home past members of the White Denim axis he and bassist Steve Terebecki co-founded. While this has never been a band to labor for months on their compositions, they’ve always been deviously tricky inventions. On Waiting Room, they’re even more given a longer leash. “Work” is almost jammy, “Go Numb” has a new-wavish pop vibe, as does the psyched-out “Queen of the Quarantine”, which seems to channel Gary Numan. Elsewhere, there are the usual rapid-fire changes, and a generous helping of brain-melting guitar riffs. With so many collaborators, arrangements are crowded like a low-fi Phil Spector casserole. In short, despite the tight schedule, there’s nothing here that different from any other White Denim release. Even in the worst of circumstances, this is a band that takes unbridled joy in rocking out.
Review by Jeff McCord