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Editors’ Notes

Erlend Øye from Kings of Convenience initially wanted the Whitest Boy Alive to form as an electronic-based project, but on their second album Rules, the skewed vision solidifies even more as the quartet approximates dance music on standard rock band instruments, making for an outfit that sounds like a more festive Kings of Convenience and a grittier, earthier version of Parisian funksters Phoenix. If the distorted electric piano on “Keep a Secret” doesn’t get you moving, the four-on-the-floor disco rhythms are sure to charge your batteries. The short synthy breakdown on “Courage” is another moment of movement-inducing gold, but it’s the groove of “1517” that’s easily the most infectious moment here. “Island” is another solid standout with its dislocated keyboard intro that unveils mellow beats pulsing with the coolness of early ‘90s Madchester hits. Throughout the album Øye’s comforting tenor keeps things feeling relaxed and euphoric like a post-massage afterglow. Overall, Rules is slightly more mellow than the band’s 2006 debut Dreams.

Customer Reviews

Here's what I'd like to say...

Begin my friends with 'Courage'- I dare you not to bob your head, to feel your body move with the beat. TWBA last album, Dreams is on my list of top ten albums in my possession of all time. Thus you can imagine my surprise when I see iTunes making Rules available for early purchase. I'm ecstatic to see TWBA back in action and with guns firing. The addition of synth effects only bolsters the already possessive sound that they have established as their own. TWBA is the topic of many conversations, they're an enigmatic bunch, still untoured in the US- so I believe. Rules is as chemical as Dreams. Buy it, buy it, buy it.

I miss the guitar work

Don't get me wrong. It's a solid offering. But there is no urgency. I'd get rid of that cheesy keyboard for some killer guitar. Save that crap for your other bands Oye

Expectation met, but not exceeded.

If you liked "Dreams," you'll like this album, too. It's full of pleasant melodies and classic Erlend lyrics, with a little (sometimes a pinch too much) funkiness thrown in for good measure. Nothing's going to blow you away, though. Not much progression of sound here, just more of the same and, frankly, it seems a little bland to me. No single song stands out to me, calling me back for repeat listens. That's what I felt about the first album, too. Don't get me wrong, great music and I love it, but I usually listen to it as background music while I'm working or have friends over...times when I'm not focusing on the music itself. For serious listening, I much prefer Kings of Convenience or, better still, Erlend's brilliant electronic album "Unrest." Come on Erlend, how about another album like that?


Formed: 2003 in Berlin, Germany

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Formed in 2003 as an electronics-based group with an emphasis on the dancefloor, the Whitest Boy Alive eventually abandoned all programming and most other forms of synthetic instrumentation for a typical rock band setup. Guitarist/vocalist Erlend Øye (the Kings of Convenience), bassist Marcin Öz, drummer Sebastian Maschat, and keyboardist Daniel Nentwig began playing a form of straightforward and stripped-down indie rock informed by early Talking Heads (particularly the spindly sound of Talking...
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Rules, The Whitest Boy Alive
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Customer Ratings