Album Review: The Whitest Boy Alive, Rules


rules-coverOne of my most heavily anticipated albums of the year, Rules by the Whitest Boy Alive came as a welcome surprise. An album that didn’t break barriers for the group, yet comes across as one of the most polished and perfected albums so far in 2009. Much like it’s 2006 predecessor Dreams, this album has some of the best bass hooks and strategically placed synth keys I’ve heard on record. 

The album plays off those two elements, from the beginning of each track, to the end. “Intentions,” one of my favorite tracks on the album, begins with ten or fifteen seconds of just keys, slowly building and gaining pace. As echoing and yet amazingly funk as the bass hook starting off “Time bomb,” the synths and bass parts really feed off each other and create an extremely mellow and immersive feeling for the listener. 

Setting themselves apart from the other bands that try and do the same thing, Whitest Boy Alive possess one of the finest voices in all the music game. And mixed together with sparse guitar chords, the lyrics shine. The vocalist, Erland Oye, also a part of Kings of Convenience, has a certain aesthetic about him that reminds of me Jens Lekman. The music is stunning and powerful, but the vocals demand most of the energy whether to digest the uniqueness of it, or just to immerse yourself even deeper than the crazy instrumentals already take you. 

I always see Whitest Boy Alive talked about as a dance group, but I’ve never understood it. Neither Dreams nor Rules have been over the top club bangers or anything of the sort, maybe it’s the calm vocals that bring the group down a notch, who knows. Sure there are heavy, and I mean heavy bass lines streaming across the entire album along with the synth as well, but I find myself tapping my toe along to it much more than jumping off the futon to cut some rug. I’ve always found Whitest Boy Alive to be calming, and beyond pleasing, perfect for any weather. Poignant lyrics to boot.

Rules has lived up to all hype I had for it, weary that it might not live up to the amazing Dreams, I can easily assure any fan of the first album that this one will blow you away. Culminating in one of the best singles of the year, “Islands,” the Whitest Boy Alive will surprise anybody out there looking to get into some new music. It’s a shame that these guys don’t receive more press, what they do is not only their own, but it’s mastered to a T.

Get more info about the album, written by singer Erland Oye. Or BUY THE ALBUM through Erland’s record label Bubbles.

9 out of 10

Check ‘Em Out MP3: The Whitest Boy Alive – “Timebomb”

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One Response to “Album Review: The Whitest Boy Alive, Rules

  1. Los Campesinos!:Death To Los Campesinos!…

    The singers gave their first gig on 8 May 2006 at a student union club night; they went on playing a number of increasingly favorite gigs around Cardiff….

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