For All We Are, their effervescent cauldron of buzz has been bubbling away quite nicely since 2013. Bagging support slots for Warpaint, London Grammar and Jungle over the past year, the band have now finally lifted the lid on their own eponymous debut to let Shuf have a whiff.
Famously marketing themselves as “the Bee Gees on Diazepam” with their own brand of anxiety-relieving psychadelic boogie, ‘Intro - Ebb/Flow’ seems to trade in this prescription for something a little more expansive. Opening with a reverberated piano melody, this metamorphosis perhaps comes as no surprise considering the context of the record’s conception. Distanced from flashing lights and vibey discotheques, the album’s skeleton was in fact excavated in rural Wales and in the mountains of Norway where phones become redundant and toilets are situated in cold wooden shacks for some reason (perhaps it’s character building?).
Their most recent single ‘Stone’, also follows in these footsteps. Accompanied by fluttering guitar licks, Guro Gikling’s vocals hold a distinct Scandinavian gracefulness that one has come to expect from Norwegian artists. Whilst both tracks embed themselves comfortably on our ear buds, it is not until ‘Feel Safe’ that their characteristic disco flavour is injected. As the track breaks down, the band collectively stomp and shriek in falsetto tones “I want you/I want yoooou” before the ear-wormy melody struts back on to the dance floor for one of the strongest moments on the record. Continuing to embrace their funky foundations, ’Honey’ sees the Irish-Brazilian-Norwegian trio pick up the pace with screeching guitar squeals as the “lights get hazy”. Similarly, ‘I Wear You’ satisfies the tiny dancer in us all. Delivering a tale of intimacy steeped in groove and littered with “oooos”, the rhythm of the track thumps joyously before the band tear in to a guitar solo that almost screams “sexual frustration”.
With lust positioned on a throne as the central theme of the record, the band for the most part demonstrate expressive lyricisms to harness this. ’Keep Me Alive’ however seems to completely abandon this creative flavour. Passionately belting out “I need you baby/to keep me alive”, the whole song ends up sounding a little insincere and clichéd. Coupled with a monotonous song structure, this song leaves its legacy in my notes as ‘the one with the sub-par stadium guitar riff’.
Whilst the album’s anomaly slightly kills the flow, the record is resuscitated by ‘Go’. The delicate guitar melody stumbles and trips over its own shoelaces in the most endearing way possible before blossoming in to an avalanche of glorious noise. Rooted in melancholy, this track and ‘Something About You’ exhibit an unfamiliar emotional depth that proves All We Are aren’t just soundtracking one night stands. Even in their most Bee Gees-infused song ‘Utmost Good’, All We Are push our perceptions on just how depressing yet dance-inducing disco can really be. Hosting sleek production and festival-friendly melodies, All We Are’s debut platter of alternative pop treats will satisfy any room filled with dry-ice and passionate dancers.
Words: George Hemmati