Album Review: We Have Band – WHB

By on Tuesday, 30th March 2010 at 2:00 pm

The English electropop scene is getting awfully crowded. So should we make room for the self-described disco-rock trio We Have Band? This Manchester band will release their debut album-length effort, ‘WHB’, next week on France’s Naïve. They’ve been described by the Guardian as ‘part Hot Chip, part Talking Heads. If Fischerspooner topped Emerge it would sound like this’. Producer Gareth Jones has worked with Interpol and Depeche Mode prior to this project, so upon hearing this album, the project seemed to be a natural progression for him.

Beyond the Guardian endorsement, the band also won Glastonbury 2009’s Emerging Talent Contest, so they have a lot to live up to. The album begins sluggishly with ‘Piano’ and ‘Buffet’, two softer electronic tracks sounding to me like Grizzly Bear (another band Jones has worked with). Considering I’m not much a fan of da Bear, their diehards would probably beg to differ (feel free to have at it in the Comments section).

The third track begins, and watch out. Check out ‘Divisive’, the track everyone will be talking about, heavy on the synths and factory ready for the dancefloor. The majority of the tracks sound very Pet Shop Boys and Information Society mixed in with bits of Joy Division and Gary Numan (robotic vocals abound). (See ‘Love, What You Doing’, ‘Oh!’, ‘WHB’, ‘Hero Knows’ and ‘Centrefolds and Empty Screens’.) The latter of those has a title and an admirable bridge that makes me think an awesome promo video could be created with it. For now, check out the newish video for ‘Divisive’ (released late February) below.


‘How to Make Friends’ and ‘Honeytrap’ sound like they were written by Hot Chip’s Taylor and Goddard. Should be interesting should they ever decide to remix We Have Band’s music. The guitars of ‘Here It in the Cans’ have the promise of two ‘FF’ moniker bands, Friendly Fires and Franz Ferdinand, but the song doesn’t deliver. ‘You Came Out’, with Dede W-P’s robotic vocals, sounds more like the Ting Tings with throbbing bass.

There’s a prevailing bounciness to ‘WHB’ but as a whole, it’s disappointingly not as fun of a record as I expected. If you like your dance music to be dark, this album’s for you. If not, you may want to skip this and try We Have Band out live. Perhaps they’re one of those groups that has a fantastic live show that completely blows recorded efforts out of the water?


‘WHB’, We Have Band’s debut album, will be released in the UK on 05 April on Naive. The band have put together a handy-dandy list of places you can preorder the album here on their Web site.

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