White Williams: Smoke

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.

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