The Whitest Boy Alive - Rules (Bubbles Records)

Phillip Clark | Saturday, 07 February 2009

The Whitest Boy Alive - Rules (Bubbles Records)

The Whitest Boy Alive's latest offering, Rules, is not an album that’ll stick around for long - it’s a bit too mundane and middle of the road. The beats become drone-like; The Whitest Boy Alive couldn’t be a close friend.

The best way to enjoy The Whitest Boy Alive is to view them more as an acquaintance - the type that you wouldn't mind bumping into occasionally, but wouldn't want to invite out for a drink. Chirpy beats with light fluttery melodies and a covering of guitar greet you throughout the album, giving off a South American feel at times. It's epitomised particularly in second track 'Intentions'.

The band is headed by Kings of Convenience singer (and solo artist) Erlend Øye who takes control of guitar and vocals. Øye’s crisp and pure delivery sounds as if he has been trying to push his voice through a blocked nose without success. This attempted (and failed) nasal sound results in a real clarity, as if any distortion has been carefully filtered out. Completing the band are Marcin Oz on bass, Sebastian Maschat on drums and Daniel Nentwig on the Rhodes piano and Crumar (which is, apparently, an Italian brand of synthesiser).

'Island' is the highlight of the album. The difference with this track compared to the others is that the pace picks up considerably and with it so does the beat; it moves encouragingly away from the relatively dull-sounding indie-tronica that makes up most of the album. 'High On The Heels' also continues in a similar style, and brings with it a feeling that had every track been shaped this way then we could be listening to a far better album.

Having originally started out as an electronic dance project in 2003, The Whitest Boy Alive seem to be moving backwards. Rules is a chilled out and raw collection of beats that will struggle to find a real fan-base. Taking out most of the electronica in their music has highlighted why it was there in the first place.

Rating: 2/5

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