Admittedly, I knew nothing about We Have Band before I heard this album. Receiving hype in reviews from publications such as NME (8/10), Q (8/10), and Uncut (8/10) I had reserved high hopes for WHB’s third album. I was not left disappointed, yet at the same time I wasn’t overly pleased. A basic overview of what to expect from the East London-based band is a manic clash of guitars, bass, soft synthesizers, percussion, drum machines, and drum samples which, when successful, shockingly flow together to form a hypnotising mix. Yet it is important to note that not all the songs on this album provide this compelling element.
For We Have Band, the word ‘movements’ has clearly been at the centre of the album’s concept. On the whole, the album is an artistic escape that aims to gradually move and flow through the different sub-styles of what has been dubbed ‘indie disco’. The album has three types of listening, which mimic the tentative nature of WHB’s efforts.
Setting the tone is the delightfully upbeat, youthful, foot-tapping Modulate with its matching pseudo-mature lyrics; at this early point it’s clear what to expect from Movements. Songs such as Save Myself, Burning On My Lips, and Heart Jump all simulate the style of Modulate with varying degrees of success; all are energetic from start to finish. The youthful nature of these tracks clearly recreates what WHB intended: to cause an interminable desire to move.
The second phase of the album starts with Someone, the easy listening adventure which is ideal lift music. I disagree with the majority of reviewers, as instead of hearing the musical mirage that was promised, I was left feeling bored. To start with, Someone has a dreary backing beat along with overtly simplistic lyrics:
I was thinking about the times I’ve known you, I was, can you?
This brings about a sense of boredom that you can come to expect for the rest of the song. Other tracks such as Look At The Way We Are and No More Time also fit into the ‘lift music’ category, being painfully dull and repetitive. WHB’s attempts to create a mix of the hypnotic whilst maintaining an adolescent, peppy, upbeat nature are not successful. These songs may, at the very least, provide enjoyment, but will most likely maintain the effects that morphine has in dental surgeries across the UK.
The strengths from this album come in the form of the final three songs: Please, Every Stone, and Blue. They provide a refreshing, deeper sound that shifts away from the peppy vibes dominating the majority of Movements, and instead move towards an artistic experiment that has slowly been infiltrating the band’s sound. These songs create a fascinating, mesmerising ambiance that builds upon the ‘indie disco’ genre.
Movements is the stereotypical hipsters’ wet dream. When songs embrace a clear style of energetic disco or experimental techno they are surprisingly revitalising – yet We Have Band’s attempt to mix these styles has created an ironic sleep-inducing sound.