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Joe Williams may be based in Cleveland and New York City, but Smoke shows that White Williams' heart resides in a fantasy version of '70s England, where glam rock, punk, electronics, and sleaze, detachment, and wit reign supreme. White Williams' music has drawn comparisons to contemporaries from Beck to Vampire Weekend, but the inclusive playfulness of Brian Eno's early solo albums feels like a more relevant touchstone for this album's friendly experimentalism — like Eno, Williams combines the really weird and the really poppy so that they complement each other instead of competing with each other. "In the Club" pairs gritty, glittery glam rock guitars and electro-pop irony so that they sound perfect, and perfectly natural together; "Danger" takes glam's infamous slow shuffle beat and surrounds it with short-circuiting synths. Smoke's palette of sounds is pretty remarkable, with guitars that shimmy, bounce, and buzz colliding with oddly childlike backing vocals and synths that sparkle and crackle. Everything sounds like it's been slicked in oil or wrapped in spandex, to the point where "Going Down"'s paranoid pop feels as though it could slip right off the album. It's Smoke's nonstop catchiness that makes it really special, however. Though "Lice in the Rainbow" closes the album with a burst of streaky and insectoid synths, even this tangent hovers around the length of a classic pop song. Meanwhile, "Route to Palm" and "Fleetwood Crack" have winsome melodies that feel strangely familiar, and make the sexily aloof cover of "I Want Candy" blend in even more seamlessly with the rest of Smoke. "Headlines" could be a long-lost single from the late '70s, while "New Violence"'s glistening new wave finds inspiration from just a few years later. Crucially, though, Smoke never sounds dated or rehashed — instead, it's a fresh, consistently creative, and consistently listenable debut.


Geboren: San Francisco, CA

Genre: Rock

Jahre aktiv: '00s

Under the pseudonym White Williams, singer, multi-instrumentalist, and graphic designer Joe Williams makes playful, fractured art pop that borrows from glam rock's strutting cool and electronic mischief-making. In 1999, Williams was a drummer in a Cleveland, OH-based noise band who also played gigs with Black Dice and the Rapture; however, Williams eventually decided to take his music in a more electronic direction. In 2001, he formed So Red, a project that became part of a scene of artists that...
Komplette Biografie
Smoke, White Williams
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