We Have Band – WHB (Universal) 05/04/2010

March 31, 2010 by  

It’s a subdued opening for We Have Band in their ‘I wonder what the title means?’ record, ‘WHB‘. But don’t let that put you off what’s to come, from the electro-pop maker’s debut.

‘Piano’ is a simple piano led fuzzy synth track, building up to a sadly drab ‘Buffet’, another slow burner fizzling out after just two of its over long four and a half minutes.

These two tracks just don’t do the band justice. A talented trio who although predominately labelled in the brimful electro-pop genre – and are increasingly compared with ‘Hot Chip‘ – they will also be as equally aligned with their self styled genre, disco-rock. Ok there are a lack of guitars and mostly swagger, but We Have Band are a dance group, similar in style at least to a less angular but equally as entertaining version of ‘Clor’.

From the next track and most recent single ‘Divisive’, we’re gratefully led down this more danceable path. The track itself has a slight lean towards Talking Heads with a Kraut Rock bass, and it’s also the beginning of the exploration – well, borderline exploitation – of the bands’ many contemporaries and indeed influences.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, as they lift the best from their influences, whether that be the late ’80s house on ‘Love, What You Doing?’, or the various ideas from Pet Shop Boys, Friendly Fires, or even Gary Numan. The standout track however is what was originally their 2008 single ‘You Came Out’, its CSS / Le Tigre sass with a Peter Bjorn & John’s ‘Young Folks’ whistle makes it destined for the dance floor if the album succeeds.

There are clear singles, which are inevitably the better tracks for a dance record, but that doesn’t detract from some of the darker electro-disco gems laden throughout, such as the brooding petulance of ‘Centrefolds and ‘Empty Screens’.
Another is last track ‘Hero Knows’, where the awful lyrics beginning ‘Looking out the window / thinking for a while now…’ is forgiven as it sits upon a killer chorus. This grumble however is in some ways lyrically refreshing – at least it’s an attempt to use a different formula from their usual vocal repetition, which only works on ‘Honeytraps’ which sounds like Bloc Party doing Joy Division with the distinct Kele-like vocal hook.

WHB is a slightly flawed album, but hardly a disappointment, with the singles leading the way. There are all manner of influences completing their dissection of the dance genre, and although full of subservient ideas, We Have Band’s debut as a collective falls just short of a must have. But only just.

[rating:3.5]


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