The Berlin-based dance band, Whitest Boy Alive, have pinned down their electronic style to back-to-basics pop for their debut album Dreams. Formed in 2003 as a project between the Norwegian singer of Kings of Convenience, Erlend Oye, and German DJ, Marcin Uz, now playing bass, the band also now include drummer, Sebastian Maschat, and Daniel Nentwig on Fender Rhodes and Crumar synth.
Although the band has its own German record label, Bubbles, in the UK, Modular Records has signed the group; an interesting new direction for the label that tend to focus on more upbeat electronic dance bands with attitude. The band played their first UK gig at the London Astoria with New Young Pony Club, another Modular signed band, in September 2007.
With no structural or programmed elements the music makes for a clear-headed, no frills, approach to dance music: A refreshing change for club floor classics. However, after a promising start to the album with the catchy minimalist pop tunes "Burning", "Golden Cage", and "Fireworks" the tracks start to merge into one. The subject matter is generally melancholic; not a natural bed fellow for dance music. However there is optimism in the lyrics, and the sereneness of Oye's voice masters the sound in a controlled environment.
Quietly unassuming to the point of being in danger of getting overlooked, at best Dreams will go down well in the chill-out room of an über cool club. But at worst it could be snapped up by a bland chain bar playing non-descript background music that you don't know, and don't want to know. The simple sounds fit into the very current '80s' vein, but without any of the usual bravado and day-glo. Also, Oye's super-smooth vocals are so distinctive that Dreams may be regarded as little more than the electronic dance version of Kings Of Convenience. Yet in the grand scheme of things that's not such a bad thing. --Jessica Braham
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