White Hills White Hills(Thrill Jockey) Buy it from Insound
In high school I was the on-again-off-again bassist for a band called Indigo Mood. They were the stereotypical high school stoner band. They didn’t give a fuck because they didn’t want too and Jimmy Page didn’t. All the best music is from the 1970’s and if you argue you’re gay. Boston is “transcendent” and Wolfmother is the best and most original musical act in years (I honestly don’t think they realized how silly their original tag for Wolfmother was. All they did was praise them for sounding like the good ol’ days). They played long songs and liked fiddling with delay pedals at all the wrong times. As if all that wasn’t enough, they had a song called Land of Noz pt. 1 and it took it very seriously.
While I can’t guarantee the presence of comedic stoner stereotypes in White Hills, they are musically a grown up version of Indigo Mood. They can make honest and true rock music at times, the stuff Indigo Mood would have loved. The songs go on and on and on, sloppy guitar solos saturating every song like the word “epic” at a Muse concert. At least half of the nearly hour long album sounds like the middle part of Whole Lotta Love: atmospheric bass and drums with a noodly guitar solo over the top. Counting Sevens sounds just like it, but it goes on for five minutes instead of two, lacks a good riff from the start and doesn’t have Robert Plant’s orgasmic yelps.
Self indulgent music is fun to play. I can understand why people make it, but I can’t understand why they’d record it and release it. Self indulgent can work at concerts and in your practice space, but not on my speakers. Let the Right One In, We Will Rise and Glacial use up twenty-five minutes of album time on guitar noodling. They come one after the other and never once pick up any momentum. The album finisher picks up a bit and roars through solos with a giant riff behind it for twelve minutes, backed by a vocal chorus of “we are the sunshine” being repeated over and over again.
All that said, it’s only about a third as bad as it sounds. It’s fairly tolerable as far as extreme self indulgence goes. The opening track is decent, and the riff on Three Quarters just begs to be played at full volume with the windows down. It’s the only time their formula functions in every way it should.
White Hills just need to edit themselves. They aren’t anything uniquely special, but they can turn out good riffs and solid rock music when they can keep themselves from wandering too far off track.