A.V. Club Most Read

News Newswire Great Job, Internet!
TV Club All Reviews What's On Tonight
Video All Video A.V. Undercover A.V. Cocktail Club Film Club
Reviews All Reviews Film TV Music Books
Features All Features Newswire Great Job, Internet!
Sections Film Tv Music Food Comedy Books Games Aux
Our Company About Us Contact Advertise Privacy Policy Careers RSS
Onion Inc. Sites The Onion The A.V. Club ClickHole Onion Studios

White Williams: Smoke

B+

White Williams

Album: Smoke
Label: Tigerbeat 6

Community Grade

  • A
  • A-
  • B+
  • B
  • B-
  • C+
  • C
  • C-
  • D+
  • D
  • D-
  • F
?

Your Grade

?

It makes sense that a protégé of Girl Talk's Greg Gillis would specialize in pop appropriation and cross-pollination, two things Joe "White" Williams brings in spades to Smoke. But Williams' debut induces tender gasps and organic contractions in its meticulously tweaked songcraft: "New Violence" sounds like Sparks with Euro-pop training wheels, but the thudding bass and shrill synths have a will and pulse of their own. There are traces of Tiga's electro-slanted élan—minus most of the dance-floor pandering—to Williams' "Going Down," but its lush glitches, glutinous low-end, and space-plus-samples collage aesthetic owe more to Brian Eno's tenure with Talking Heads. Gillis' influence rears highest in a dull version of the Strangeloves-by-way-of-Bow Wow Wow classic "I Want Candy" and the throwaway "Fleetwood Crack"—but the lopsided laptop funk of "Smoke" is nothing short of nauseously gorgeous. The world probably doesn't need a new Beck, but Smoke proves there's one floating around, just in case.