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White Denim, D
Downtown Records, May 11

07/07/11
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



We’ve seen the results of Generation Ringtone buzzing away at the prog-rock clues left behind by old ’70s arena bands and simultaneously trying not to suck as bad as most hipster rock bands; Umphreys McGee have made the most hay out of that angle by not just jamming but also not being as boring as Particle. Still with me? No? Basically this is Allman Brothers with Amboy Dukes vocals, you know, from right out of “Journey to the Center of the Mind,” all psychedelic and stuff, see. What this band does correctly is the whole “who the hell cares, just play something complicated and groovy” thing — I mean, sure, maybe this generation of kids will start protesting before anarchy breaks out, and stuff like this will be all the rage at Bonnaroo (anything would be an improvement over that status quo). What they do wrong is miss the whole Berklee boat, getting a few really weird world-music influences under their belt. You could literally sit there all day driving your Shazam app insane with this album (“At the Farm” fades out on a wanton ripoff of Molly Hatchet’s “Flirtin With Disaster”), and there are some really compelling random segues, but where’s the Turkish-folk guitar solo FTW? (Translation for anyone weeping over the above gibberish: if you wish ELP had jammed with the Allman Brothers, certainly, buy this album). A- —Eric W. Saeger





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