Focused and determined cerebral rock expands into one of the great debut records of 2012.
There’s a moment after the chorus during “Heavy Nights”, the third track on White Laces’ debut full-length, that sneaks up on you. It’s not ethereal or spooky in nature, though it is otherworldly. Repetitive, potent guitars lead one to believe that a standard bridge is on its way. Instead, the guitars take the listener through the fog, blending a delicate groove with a crashing finale.
At times on their past EPs, White Laces have sounded as if they might not be sure where they’re headed, though listeners were largely keen to ride along. Yet on Moves, the four-piece lay to rest any doubt about their ability and focus; Moves is a determined listen, proving that when it comes to groove-heavy cerebral rock, White Laces should be taken very seriously. Clocking in at eight tracks and thirty-two minutes, Moves shows a poise that is free of any filler or fat. Furthermore, Moves is an incredibly sleek listen. There is a subtlety within tracks like “Carousel” and “Twinning” that lures listeners into intricacies that, while they may not pay homage, do take cues from Radiohead’s finer work.
Known for the bulging crescendos, White Laces have made great efforts to protect the energy of said moments, all the while finding a delicate balance throughout Moves. “Crawl/Collapse” smooths out what could very well be a thousand layers into one polished yet forceful listen. At six and half minutes, the album closer showcases the band’s outright maturity. It’s not so much a “Less is more” mentality as it is a “More with less” approach. Emphatic without sounding scattered, the buoyant drumwork on “Impossible Windows” brings an airy dream pop piece back down to Earth. Nothing gets out of hand on Moves and none of the songwriting is sacrificed.
It’s a shame that White Laces, products of Richmond, VA’s scene, can’t benefit from the added exposure that a city with a more renowned music scene could bring. Nevertheless, much like Moves itself, White Laces are worth the extra effort. At times, the outright stunning capacity of the record is presented upfront, such as on the building album opener “Trading”, while on “Parallel Chills”, there’s a level of meandering that requires some searching on the part of the listener. The reward is, of course, one of the more redeeming debut records not just of 2012, but in recent memory. One might not be sure what they’re looking for on Moves but with enough faith, it’s clear what they’ll find: many, many intoxicating repeated listens.