Their debut, a collection of excitable punk funk and giddy electronica influenced indie fizzed with wide eyed naivety showing a pop heart beating under layers of sounds that were contemporary at that time. The benefit of releasing it in 2010 was that it wasn’t lost in the deluge of bands saying hey, we like ESG AND Daft Punk from a couple of years prior. What made We Have Band stand out was their immense likeability and pop corkers such as ‘Divisive’, the dumb-assed ‘You came out’ and the cracking ‘Love, what you doing’.
While promoting their debut they expanded to a four piece taking on a live drummer, this had a noticeable effect on their sound as the pop aspect was pushed aside for a harder, rockier sound. It’s a move which makes sense musically in terms of progression but was also to the detriment to what made them fun in the first place.
Their sophomore ‘Ternion’ shows them moving on from daft songs about turkey basting at home after nights out to songs with much improved song structure that are more complex than previous but unfortunately the amount of concentration on developing a new sound has meant that they didn’t keep their eye on the quality of songs, after a great first half, the album rapidly tails off on the latter.
The opening track ‘Shift’ shows a surprisingly cinematic side with impressive three part harmonies backing Bancroft’s new found crooning to dramatic effect. Crunchier lo-fi songs such as ‘Where are your people’ and ‘After All’ also contain much improved vocals and a claustrophobic funk edge that nod towards recently released output from Radiohead, especially the heavy riffing basslines.
They have obviously watched the transformation of Metronomy very closely as they mutate from an ok electro rock also rans to a genuine ongoing concern with a masterly touch at writing great pop tracks. We Have Band don’t yet have the skill that Joseph Mount showed he had but the potential to reach the same heights is definitely there as shown on the sweet doey eyed loveliness of ‘What’s mine, what’s yours’.
Halfway through however the quality drastically dips; they either ran out of songs or had too many musical ideas and lacked the discipline to put some of them aside for future work; ‘Steel in the groove’ is an example of this, it’s so overly crammed with so many different parts that it’s a mess, it’s like they placed all of their ideas on a table and then swept their hands over them all, components smashing into each other on the way to the floor. It’s not as if they are unable to pull together a decent dance track, previous mixes for Bloc Party and Anoraak showed a knack of fusing Italo disco with indie and house but here it just doesn’t’ work.
Difficult second album blah blah, this is a missed opportunity, but there’s enough on show here to indicate that their third album will be a killer. 6/10