Having been active since 2011, it wasn’t until last year’s release Feel Safe that people really started to pay some serious attention to All We Are. It’s a song that was initially written in one day as an experiment by the band to see what they were capable of putting together, and it perfectly demonstrates how they were about to define themselves.
Firstly, there’s that underlying groove that pulsates throughout the track. Then there’s the way that Guro Gikling’s slinky vocals perfectly counteract Luis Santos’ when they gush and coo “I want you/I want you”. Once they pieced together the puzzle, they had created a sound that was at once as stripped back as it was smooth and lush, which they have self-described as being the ‘Bee Gees on diazepam’. More importantly, it made you want to dance and left you wanting more.
Feel Safe really gives a taster for what the Liverpool-based three-piece is all about. The trio comprise of an Irishman, a Norwegian and Brazilian who met at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts and became avid and regular members of the city’s eclectic music scene. It’s quite a concoction, and in many ways their music sounds like a cocktail of the three finest alcoholic beverages from each respective country might. There are slithers of catchy hooks and sparks of strong beats tied together by a softness that covers over the tracks like sickly sweet icing on a cake.
Utmost Good proved to be another song that exhibited All We Are’s inherent knack of being able to create funked-up tunes that are equal parts dance-worthy and with an underlying genuine sexiness. Its main guitar hook slithers like velvet through your fingers. Honey underlines their strength at making exciting music that gets you moving, with Santos’ vocals sliding up and down against a backdrop of jangling guitars and streamlined percussion. It’s explosive and demands all of your attention, all at once.
I Wear You stands strong in the centre of the album, exploding to life with the first “oh oh ohhh” and expands into a much denser texture. It is the most sparkling demonstration of what the trio do best, where the tightly packed chorus sticks itself into every crevice of the mind and hangs there for hours. Addictive and brimming with fun, it’s easy to dance to. The influence of Dan Carey – who has previously worked with the likes of Bat For Lashes – over the production comes into its own here, and it shows how well things can go when the right person is bringing the ideas together.
For all its assets, All We Are’s debut feels like it doesn’t always quite push hard enough to bring something unpredictable to the table. Their blend of funky, Bee Gees infused alt-pop has it perks, but you can’t help but feel that there was room for them to experiment further and see what would happen when they really let themselves go. It feels as though they have created a sound that might confine them further down the line; specific and tightly packed, it begs the question of where they go from here and whether there’s room for them to develop from the bracket they have defined themselves within. Tracks such as Something About You beg to be made bigger or have something about them. As they are, they stunt the pace and energy of the album’s highlights. When the pace slips, the album lacks lustre, and you can’t help but feel a bit hard done by.
Yet that’s not to say that this album lacks character. It’s a honey-coated gem of funk-infused pop, and when it shines, it’s a disco ball, a ’70s disco full of glorious hooks, where Gikling and Santos’ vocals balance one another in the most beautiful way.