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There’s a lot of three-ness about WE HAVE BAND (interviewed here). Three members, three voices and alternate lead singers, three words in their name even. And while they’ve earned their stripes in gig venues, it’s their understanding of the dancefloor’s holy trinity – something for the mind, body and soul – that binds their music together. I first heard them on myspace in early 2008 and fell in love wholeheartedly. I used to play Oh and Centrefolds & Empty Screens (or You’ve Had Band as it was called in demo format) in my old office continually, over the stereo then through headphones when colleagues wondered out loud if we could maybe listen to something else for a change. So when I finally saw them at Yo Yo at Notting Hill Arts Club in July 2008 I went a little mental. They became my dancing band, my let-your-hair-down-and-jump band, my get-sweaty-and-yell band. That feeling was addictive. I saw them many more times over the following months. And every time it was a complete release, tapping directly into my consciousness, fulfilling a primal desire to dance. It’s safe to say I’ve been looking forward to this album for a long time. This is how it made me feel.
Squelchy bass, tinkling piano keys, hushed vocals that kick at my heart…We Have Band have always made me dance, but this make my skin tingle too. Hello ‘WHB’, I’ve been waiting for you.
You know that scene in ‘Trainspotting’, when Renton sinks into the floor, succumbing to the drugs in his veins? This is a little like that minus the heroin, each wave of Arabian-esque strings and swirling synths pulling me under, slowing breath, pulse and senses. A delicious submergence.
Then a kick-drum snap of the fingers and I’m awake, back on my feet, back in the room, right down the front. Shoulders shaking, head nodding, lips pursing, eyes glinting. There’s a shuffle, a schaffle, a glam edge. It’s hyper sexy. ‘I’ll take you deep down now.’ The looping lyrics, the driving beats, this is a right little number.
Love, What You Doing?
The comma is everything in this song. Thomas’ glazed eye vocals are punctuated by post-punk rhythms, a seductive bassline is twisted by sedated beats. It’s dark hearted, wide-awake in the dead of night stuff.
And now get ready to explode. Oh is just so joyful, an off-kilter pop song that begs you to pogo. No point resisting. Submit…oh oH OH.
How To Make Friends
There’s the briefest of pauses to catch my breath, a build up that crystallises everything I love about We Have Band. The palpable anticipation of night time gatherings, a dark club bristling with body heat, strobe lights capturing snapshots of expectation on faces, in eyes. It fills my lungs, makes my heart leap. I get so emotional, baby.
Shoulders back, chin up and strut. We Have Band’s disco manifesto must be obeyed. Take it away Dede: ‘This is / your choice / it’s time / rejoice / line up / clap hands / let’s go / here we stand’.
Hear It In The Cans
Wait for it, wait for it, waaaaaaaait….okay, GO! This just makes me grin like a loon and takes me back to two summers ago, when I was living on my own for the first time. Music holds memories. This has a whole lot of good ones.
Centrefolds & Empty Screens
This is a lesson in tension, all heady build ups and bittersweet releases. It was pretty much perfect the first time I heard it and it still hits the spot. Hallelujah.
You Came Out
I just want to go out now. So what if it’s Sunday? There’s a night out there waiting to be seized. There’s so much energy in this song, all the more incredible because it’s so sparing, so selective in its construction. I love it.
Big, dark and ominous brassy bass opens. I can’t help but purse my lips in a Blondie-esque fashion as the beat kicks in. ‘We came from nowhere with a certain dedication and devotion,’ sings Darren. ‘We were beholden to the way in which we lived with such emotion.’ Vote WHB.
‘Baby, please don’t wish away the dark days, they’re the ones the make it all worthwhile.’ Yes, We Have Band know the dancefloor, inside and out. The excess, the exhilaration, the letting go. Especially the letting go.