Take a massive drag on this record, taking it right back deep into your lungs and you’ll soon be wondering why you ever got so upset over a game of football. As the country mourns sporting failure once again, ironically some comfort comes in the shape of a bunch of German-based musicians – The Whitest Boy Alive. They ease the pain with the most chilled out album of the year.
Despite all its precise delicate foundations this album remains solid throughout with its sizzling hot style. If the overall feel of the album was described as background music, you’d tend to think of an insignificant, unimpressionable sound – drifting by in the distance as you try and figure out how England could possibly throw away the chance of qualification. The vocals are soft, the instrumentation is minimum, but the mark it leaves is massive.
Every guitar strum is carefully crafted and perfectly placed side by side to build a wonderful collection of songs. Attention to detail is paramount on this record, every note is under scrutiny as all feedback and all distortion is stripped away, fully exposing each maverick melody.
Take Golden Cage for example – it opens with a repetitive bass which carries the track with real authority, before an equally catchy guitar riff is slipped into the mix perfectly complimenting the mellow voice of singer Erlend Øye, also of Kings Of Convenience. It highlights some very simple compositions that work so effectively together, getting the most out of the instruments at their disposal as they create the most eccentric electro-folk pop.
The Whitest Boy Alive released this album in Germany over a year ago, the first time it was heard live over here is when they supported New Young Pony Club in London at the end of September. Giving its laid back feel and effortless energy, as the nation contemplates failure once again it has been unleashed on Britain at the perfect time. Poor Scott Carson could probably do with giving Don’t Give Up a soothing spin, whilst Above You has seriously easy going reggae hooks bouncing all over it. The next single Burning produces the soft-short riffs, infectious melodies and the calming lyrics that are so typical of this debut record.
The Whitest Boy Alive started as an electronic dance music project in 2003, the Berlin group have since slowly developed into a band without any programmed elements. You would perhaps struggle to get your groove on to this album, but you could easily crack open a cold beer, lay back and snooze too it.
The pleasant sound will breeze by giving you the feeling of something so distantly vague and yet very vivid. Dreams feels like an long afternoon in an Amsterdam Coffee Shop. Russia to win Euro ’08? – Why not?