Album Reviews

WhoMadeWho – Knee Deep

(Kompakt) UK release date: 25 April 2011

Since their 2009 previous for Gomma, Danish funksters WhoMadeWho have, er, lost The Plot, and headed for pastures new. Kompakt may seem like a less likely destination for a band whose musical bent is more disco-derived house than techno, but make no mistake, Knee Deep finds them in an extremely vibrant musical place.

The album is part one of two due for release this year. Both were conceived in a hotel in Copenhagen, but it was felt they occupied a different musical place each, and the urgency to release the first part became overwhelming. The trio are undecided on whether their new piece of work is a fully fledged new album or extended EP – it’s for you to decide – but that becomes irrelevant nit picking when the content is so consistently strong, the songs proving their worth on first listen alone.

For this is a band who can create a party vibe with little or no words. The instrumental Musketeer is proof positive of this, flexing its muscles initially before powering directly into the middle of the dancefloor. Two Feet Off The Ground, too, waits for the electronics to set the scene before its mighty chorus asserts itself. “The grass is greener,” indeed, as the synths whirl about and the bass lines become more athletic.

The band continue their talent for spinning their songs out over larger structures, with time taken to indulge the funk, and in Every Minute Alone they blend a moody vocal into a red blooded stomper, the lyrics “every minute alone” and “every point of return” blurring into one. The vocals are spot on, too, with Tomas Hoffding furthering his talent of moving from a crooning baritone to a soaring falsetto, often in the course of one musical phrase.

The funk is very much in evidence, especially in Musketeer, but opener There’s An Answer also shows how a little analogue warmth can go a long way, the pleasing rasp of the bass clarinet adding a gorgeous dash of colour to an already lush synthesized backdrop.

The only criticism is that it’s all over a bit too soon, if you discount the admittedly enjoyable remixes of Every Minute Alone added as bonuses. That only heightens the anticipation for the second part of these sessions, which on this evidence have been hugely successful. More dancefloor domination beckons for the Danish trio – and these tracks should once again work a treat live. Let’s just hope they don’t leave it too long.

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More on WhoMadeWho
WhoMadeWho – Knee Deep
WhoMadeWho – The Plot