Album Review: We Have Band - 'WHB' (WHB Records/Naive)
Brainy indie-disco trio's debut soars when it doesn't try too hard
But a name is just a name, and some people like it. So let’s not get too Debbie Downer so early on, because this debut has plenty going for it. After a couple of years of live circuit graft and healthy blog-servicing, the trio have nurtured expectations of an indie disco marriage made in hipster heaven. Curiously, [b]‘WHB’[/b] works in spite of the things that initially brought them attention, rather than because of them. Their internet big-hitters like [b]‘Divisive’[/b] and [b]‘Oh!’[/b] would have burned hot and bright in 2007, but things move fast, and they suddenly sound dated: the wedded bliss of guitars and beats needs to be spiced up if they want to keep things fresh.
When the band dig a little deeper and keep the [b]Rapture[/b] love to a minimum, it starts to get special. They’ve got all the right influences in all the right places. They’re clearly indebted to ’80s pop and that [b]Animal Collective[/b] swathe of noise, but their borrowings work with their ingenuity rather than against it. [b]‘Love, What You Doing?’[/b] is the kind of depressive disco that’s got enough [b]Bronski Beat[/b] in its blood to turn it into a surprising floor-filler, the same trick they perform with the similarly cynical [b]‘Centrefolds & Empty Screens’[/b] (“We’ve been around, we’ve been around”). [b]‘Buffet’[/b] is most beautiful though, ambling and confident enough to resist the urge to ramp it up too much – when it reaches its climax, it’s classy rather than showy. It’s the moulding of quiet beginnings into smartly danceable, intricate tunes that’s the rabbit in [b]We Have Band[/b]’s hipster hat.
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