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We Love

We Love

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Album Review

After what's seemed like an endless revival of early-'80s synth pop acts, it's thoroughly refreshing to hear a band that uses an electronic music model applied to relatively more recent developments to create an album that ultimately could only exist now rather than then. If anything, the Italian duo We Love often seem like a slightly parallel act to the xx, with the electronics holding clearer sway over the arrangements than the guitar. The latter instrument does appear as shading at a couple of points, as songs like "Ice Lips" readily show. But the breathlessly whispered vocals, brisk pulse beats, and echoed, clipped loops of bass and melodic sound hold sway, with songs like "No Train No Plane" and "Even If" simply some of the highlights of an incredibly strong and quite varied collection. There's also "Don't Cross," with its stuttered vocal breaks and moody early-'90s electronic basslines; the steady lope of "Hide Me" adding a seemingly naïve vocal sample melody that contributes a strange, haunted tinge to an already sleekly melancholic arrangement; and the near anthemic "Our Shapes" still finding room for a flowing, aggressive electronic crunch that defines the song. (There's a further irony in keeping both that and the most immediately pop song "Escape Destination" for the album's end rather than start, but that's the kind of risk this band plays very well.) There is a slight irony in the song "Underwater" having one of the clearest vocals as well as arrangements, but the contrast is instructive, showing that the group can provide variety on a basic template, with the echo prevalent throughout the album appearing here as texture rather than central element. That is, until the song's end when the vocals swirl away under a beautifully liquid guitar part that is the most overtly Cure-like moment throughout.

We Love, We Love
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