White Collar Sideshow is so unique I can’t spend a review name dropping comparisons. This is a great problem to have. What I can say, however, is that you will have a blast listening to this record.
White Collar Sideshow is certainly not for everyone, but I would feel most comfortable using this record as an introduction to a person green to the band. In the past, industrial drum n’ bass with creepy uttering ruled their sound. Here, the creep factor is definitely still present but a few things are new: namely, the songs are catchier than ever. And there’s a Doors cover to really sell it.
The most pleasant surprise of this album for me is undoubtedly how much more prominent Veronica Benton is. In past records, she was a mysterious spectre in the background, holding down the groove but looming as an unsettling personification of addiction. Here, where WCS has emerged as a duo for the first time, T.D. and Veronica split their duties in the spotlight, with T.D. holding down percussion and Veronica owning her bass. Vocal duties fairly evenly split.
Sonically, the industrial element is still very much present but the rock and southern elements are amplified (pun intended). I find myself thinking, “man, this could be their breakout record.” They’d do great on tour with an act like Royal Blood. Or perhaps Starset. Or, shoot… Disturbed? I’m getting some “Down With the Sickness” and “Ten Thousand Fists” vibes on “Pig In the Middle” vocally and with the raw aggression coming out. This album has it’s pretty moments, but they are few and far between. “Tombstones For Eyes” treads in that direction with some simple, unsettling piano and a more laid back, yet still assertive beat.
When I listen to albums, I often get what I’m going to what I call “first listen fatigue” by the end, and on this album that didn’t happen. The album was cohesive as all White Collar Sideshow records are, but when so much of band’s success is a function of their live show, a record that is so niche in sound can be hard to listen to at first. Here, unique elements that give me that steampunk feeling of past White Collar Sideshow records still emerges prominently, but all of it is buried under a mountain of pure, unadulterated rock n’ roll with a distinctive southern twist.
I was expecting to like it, but this album really surprised me. Add I Didn’t Come Here to Die to your rotation.