After making the acquaintance of a musician, there is not a single more uncomfortable question to ask than, "So, what's your band sound like?" The player in question will surely stammer, throw out a few choice influences and hyphenated genre designations, and then probably backpedal with the assertion that "the new stuff is going in a completely different direction." The conversation will then dwindle as both parties take deep downward stares into their beers. For White Denim's James Petralli, this question is more awkward than ever. Upon the release of 2009's Fits, the Austin-based quartet conveniently could have been lumped in with fellow Texans The Strange Boys in the lo-fi blues corral, but then the band screwed it all up, crafting psych-rock excursions, jazz-chord figures, and bombastic, swooning pop with last year's critically lauded D. The band's most recent release, a four-song EP titled Takes Place in Your Work Space, succeeds in mellowing the band's skillful finger-picking and airtight rhythm section to a melodic simmer. In this instance, Petralli hones a low-key register that alternates between the soaring warble of Fleet Foxes' Robin Pecknold and a light brand of Thom Yorke-ian eeriness. If we ever cross paths, I'll just ask him about Longhorns football or something.
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