We Have Band – WHB

Release Date 05/04/2010 (Naïve)

By Chris Gilliver

I’m still not too sure whether I want to be friends with We Have Band. He (she, whatever) is a little bit pretentious. He sings like a version of Guy Garvey who hasn’t spent his life drinking beer and eating cigarettes in The Temple or Big Hands. There are chasms of hidden depth, but there’s something going on here that I can’t quite figure out that makes me feel a little comfortable. He’s either a secret serial killer or the second coming of Jesus and so far I’m not sure which.

Like an Elbow album, the first few times you play WHB it makes a dull, droning, at times atonal noise. Then slowly, with time and effort, rays of sunshine start breaking through the clouds. Opening “Piano” is a simple ditty based around a climbing and descending electro pulse, which becomes something quite pretty, as does track 2 “Buffet”.

Then you hit previous single “Divisive” and you’re suddenly in shit rip-off territory. It’s a bit like Reverend & The Makers, a bit like the Happy Mondays, and too much like a typical Mancunian rehash. It’s really terrible.

“Love What You Doing?” is a great little 80s electro pop moment a la Cut Copy, and “Oh!” takes you back down to the sewer with its crawlingly annoying repetition. Think Hot Chip without the charm and the awesome choruses. And that’s the thing with We Have Band, you think it’s your friend. Then it turns around and smacks you in the face. Counselling is needed.

As the album progresses it is progressively more shit Hot Chip than Elbow. That is until “Centerfolds & Empty Screens” cuts through the crap with a far sharper edge. It’s threatening with a chorus straight out of the TV on the Radio songbook. It’s a phenomenal moment that catches you off right guard.

Therein lies the problem with WHB, it catches you off guard too often, and not in a pleasantly surprising way. It’s as brilliant as it is infuriatingly annoying. My advice is, keep We Have Band close, but at arms length and always in sight. Charismatic though he is, at any moment he might kick you in the balls when you’re not looking.

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