Archive for Whitest Boy Alive

Album Review: The Whitest Boy Alive, Rules

Posted in Audio, Music News, Music Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on Thursday, March 26, 2009 by Erik Burg

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”

Audio: The Whitest Boy Alive – “Island”

Posted in Downloads with tags , , , , , on Friday, January 30, 2009 by Erik Burg

wbalogoThe outpour of new music lately is unprecedented. I feel like an idiot jumping on here again and praising some blog-worthy track to the max, but here I go. (It’ll be fun this time, I promise). The Whitest Boy Alive is an interesting group, not only because its name suggests it’s a white parody-rapper or something of that sort, but because of the music as well. With only one album release out at the moment, the hugely under-rated 2007 “Dreams,” Whitest Boy plays some of the most polished and soothing songs on the market. Tracks like “Fireworks” and “Golden Cage” combine soft vocals with amazing song-writing and mix in plenty of guitar with rhythmic cymbal crashing. Maybe not so graceful sounding when I put it in words, but check the video below if you don’t believe me. Whitest Boy Alive performing “Golden Cage” live on BBC:

“Islands” is the first single off of the upcoming sophomore album “Rules” which is slated to be released in “early March” according to their Myspace. The track is much more electronically influenced, sprawling nearly seven minutes of synth heaven. Much of what makes Whitest Boy Alive so great remains, however, thanks to the vocals drums. Much of the guitar work is traded for the synthesizer, as I mentioned, giving the track a much more don-tempo disco sort of feel. It’s not really a bad thing, it’s not really a good thing, merely change. Reminding me a lot of Mock & Toof or Still Going, “Islands” is a great track to have on in the background of something, but certainly is not something that is going to steal the show. wbalogo2

It raises my hopes for “Rules” slightly, seeing as I didn’t hate the track, now hopefully Whitest Boy Alive can stay with this vibe for a whole album. A track that long heard out of context can be quite different than hearing it in the middle of a twelve track LP. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, but for now we have this at least, enjoy!

mp3: The Whitest Boy Alive – “Islands”

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