Nurtured in the arson-prone fatalism of Cleveland's DIY scene, 23-year-old Joe Williams, noise-rock dilettante and White Williams' mastermind, made a name for himself twice touring with Gregg Gillis (Girl Talk), Andrew Strasser, Frank Musarra (Hearts of Darknesses) and Luke Venezia (Drop the Lime). Together, through countless venues of ill-repute, they forced their cartooned audio effluvia in the ears of hapless art-students, transients and skin-heads. Inevitably, Joe was saved by pop music.
Smoke is his self-invented messiah. Recorded in various sublets over two years in Cleveland, Cincinnati, New York, and San Francisco, using a laptop, analog synths and a mutable selection of studio equipment, White Williams' first album is unapologetic pop that flirts with the vacuous nostalgia of the American dream; engaging ambiguous and schizophrenic instruments with impressionistic lyrics, driven by a casually heterosexual backbeat. Polished, familiar and addictive like the sound of sex in a futuristic hospital, Smoke portends a time where energy-drinking teenagers undress each other with night-vision goggles. As an amalgam of adolescent telepathy and mature awareness: White Williams is the soundtrack to our dreams of a lustful and indifferent prom night that lasts forever. - Jeffrey Blocksidge