White Denim, 'Fits' (Downtown)

Critical Mass
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by Spencer Kornhaber

Dicing classic-rock clichés and rearranging them into inventive, punk-paced anthems over an EP and two album-length releases, this Austin trio have seemed destined to end up on the coolest black-light poster ever. The voyage continues on their third album, where songs open with frantic guitar stabs before downshifting into salsa-tinged shimmies and spectral Jimi Hendrix–style wails. But then comes a surprisingly tedious slew of Turtles-indebted love notes, such as "Regina Holding Hands," all dutifully decorated with reverbed racket. It's an awkward stage: White Denim remain in the basement, but sound anxious to move out.

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