We Have Band WHB Review

Released 2010.  

BBC Review

The electro-pop Londoners score as many hits as misses on their debut.

Luke Slater 2010

We Have Band may be a manifestly ridiculous name to operate under, but the buzz around the London electro-pop trio since their formation has been substantial, with the former EMI employees managing to wrangle their way onto an opening slot at last year's Glastonbury Pyramid Stage by dint of winning that festival's emerging talent competition. A record deal, plenty of hard work and several months later we find ourselves with their effectively eponymously titled debut, WHB.

Piano – which acts as the record's introduction and serves better as a prelude to Buffet – is not entirely what you'd expect from an album opener, given the group's output to date. The down-tempo, brooding approach somewhat surprises and, compared to the hyperactivity found in other cuts, it borders on the smooth. That direction, pace and tone is carried firmly through into Buffet which is as steady as it is serene and exudes a TV On the Radio-lite-like ambience, albeit without the myriad layers.

There is, however, a certain subtlety to WHB, and though it does not abound in the more generic exchanges dotting the record, it turns certain passages into more than just throwaway electronic pop. Yet, still there is a feeling that they're freewheeling downhill – albeit in the right direction – with energy to spare. Take, for example, most recent single Divisive – danceability aside, it advances no more in its entire three-and-a-half minutes than it does in the first 30 seconds. There are no twists, breaks or turns for the unexpected. But there is no rule that simplistic has to be boring, as We Came Out testifies: its fun, foot-thumping tendencies outweigh the asininity of lyrics such as “We went out / and we got wasted / you went home / and turkey basted”, frivolously tickling though they may be.

Though a mite formulaic, WHB does have a several weapons-grade bangers in its arsenal – despite the relatively sapless offerings that sandwich them. The real depth of filling arrives in the final quarter, yet it is still not quite weighty enough to deliver a real thwack of interest to the listener. Though rarely as engaging as its makers might have hoped for, elements of WHB are a lot of fun – though its durability will be questioned, there's enjoyment enough within this debut to dip into at least a few times.

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