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Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critic Reviews What's this?

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Mixed or average reviews- based on 5 Ratings

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  • Summary: The ninth full-length studio release for the Austin rock band features some songs that were either demos, outtakes or were not included in previous albums.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. Apr 5, 2019
    Back to basics, Side Effects draws a dynamic through line to White Denim's jittery origins.
  2. Mar 29, 2019
    There's plenty of different music at your disposal, and you never know what comes next. The album is wildly and refreshingly unpredictable.
  3. Apr 1, 2019
    Essentially, Side Effects showcases White Denim's knack for making '60s- and '70s-style psychedelic garage rock that feels authentic but retains the modern punk energy that made their early albums so engaging.
  4. Mar 27, 2019
    The mixtape feel of Side Effects makes for a disjointed overall listen, but the highpoints, smooth midsection and overall frantic nature means there are very few down moments. Longtime fans will find a lot to like as will those new to the White Denim party.
  5. Mar 27, 2019
    Side Effects is largely devoid of these big bombastic moments, save the seven-minute incision "NY Money" that centres the album. Nevertheless, White Denim hurtle through the record's nine songs (as brief as many of them are) at a pace that can't help but keep the listener engaged and excited for what comes next.
  6. 65
    Side Effects is enjoyable, with inspired moments and a consistently danceable feel. It is frequently referential to the band’s previous work, which might make this more of a knockout record for the heads, rather than an entry point for new converts. Sometimes, though, it lacks the drive that reveals itself in the sparkliest songs.
  7. Mar 27, 2019
    Whilst for the most part this jam-session approach results in captivating instrumentals and intriguing points of sonic experimentation, at times it can become rather muddled, confusing and drawn-out.

See all 12 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 1
  2. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Mar 30, 2019
    TLDR: While having strong highlights, Side Effects ends up feeling a bit underwhelming with some especially pacing issues.

    Full: As White
    TLDR: While having strong highlights, Side Effects ends up feeling a bit underwhelming with some especially pacing issues.

    Full: As White Denim becomes more prolific with the release of their ninth studio album, they continue to assert themselves as one of the most entertaining acts to follow. Clocking in at just under thirty minutes, Side Effects shares in a lot of the fun as 2018's Performance, while not being quite as consistent in quality.

    With energetic tracks like Small Talk (Feeling Control), the swagger-filled Shanalala, and the layered instrumental Reversed Mirror, the tracklisting here still features expertly performed rock songs injected with a lot of fun and personality that after 13 years, is still unmistakably White Denim.

    The golden nugget here being Hallelujah Strike Gold, which is undoubtedly this album's gem with an immediately catchy hook combined with psychedelic tremolo vocals singing about spankings and eating beans. All starting with the sounds of cows and pigs from a demonic Fisher Price toy.

    Yet, despite its overall short length, Side Effects isn't able to maintain consistency, hitting a few lulls along its 9 songs. The almost 7 minute long NY Money, while a decent track, drags on minutes too long. This is followed by the weakest link and also the shortest song, Out of Doors, which barely surpasses a minute in length but sticks out like a sore thumb with its strange twangy acoustic guitars that don't sounds like anything else on the album. It, unfortunately, ends up feeling like an attempt to inch the album closer to the half-hour marker. And these two tracks being back-to-back create an 8-minute bump in the road making the meat of this record a bit stale to listen to on multiple listens.

    From there, the album improves with the aforementioned Reversed Mirror and a bump in quality for remaining songs, but doesn't quite match the that of the album's first three. Side Effects finishes up with Introduce Me, a scuzzy jam that white a solid White Denim song that unfortunately feels a bit out of place on the tracklisting, ending the album rather abruptly and leaving me wanting a least one more song to bring a proper conclusion.

    Fans of White Denim will find a lot to like here, with more highlights than shortcomings, Side Effects is a fun ride that certainly doesn't overstay it's welcome. But even then, many will leave feeling underwhelmed. While there are some definite highlights here worth going back to, there are too many moments that aren't quite as memorable.