Fresh

Above and Beyond-We Are All We Need

above-beyond-we-are-all-we-need-cover-art Electronic music is a strange genre to dive into, and while it shares more similarities with pop music than anything else, it is hard to avoid being derivative with both similar qualities that make for a grating listen. Repeated choruses, trained vocal performances, and fake instrumentals are all too easy to produce compared to something with live instrumentation. Therefor, it takes a certain amount of ingenuity to make a name for yourself in the electronic music industry. The Knife are a grand example of the reaches the genre can hit when not being limited to commercial appeal. Above & Beyond care more about that mainstream audience though. No one can blame them with Coldplay veering more toward electronics and Avicci making a massive impact last year. All of those examples match the quality on We Are All We Need, which is mediocre at best.


If there is one major example of how bland this record becomes, it would be the paper thin themes and lyrics. Even on the the best tracks on We Are All We Need, the repeated choruses and vocal styling become a massive issue. Despite having many distinctly different vocal performers, their tones never change from mid-paced and dull. The female vocals are a notch better but still leave a little something more desired. Themes are the typical love stories and attempting to rekindle past relationships by going on a vacation here and there. There are a few darker moments about relationships ending and missing the growth of a child due to choice of profession, but the album is mostly light and cheerful. That is not to say light and cheerful is a bad thing, but the lyrics never elevate these emotions to feel real or genuine.

The sound of the record is also fairly disappointing as well. The lack of live instrumentation creates a lack of environments worth exploring. Especially on the last four cuts of the album where the moody elements fall flat due to weak atmosphere and beats that lack any remorseful nature. The more dance-laden tracks are much better in the instrumental department, and some of the breakdowns like the ones present in “Counting Down the Days” and “Out of Time” are excellent club tracks to groove to. When it comes down to it, this is mostly the problem: a lot of the songs are either made for a dance party and have little substance or lack groove and are not nearly dreary enough to be effective.

There are some bright spots throughout the album, though. Gemma Hayes puts on a solid performance in the best track of the album, “Counting Down the Days.” With a sense of sadness about lost love, she really gives the track all of her energy. The beat she rides along with works as well, featuring a poppy dance groove and stellar breakdowns that can get any crowd moving. “Sticky Fingers” is a solid single to dance to as well. The theme of rejecting someone’s probing nature is just rebellious enough and the breakdowns have good life to match the excellent piano keys throughout the track.

Above & Beyond created a mild mannered and inoffensive electronic dance record with We Are All We Need, but most of the interesting details were left off. There are a few solid tracks throughout the album, and a few vocal performances nail the varied tones. However, most of the beats are too derivative to go anywhere and the repeated hooks become too weak over the hour and change of music present. The good intentions are a valuable asset, but the lack of personality really kills this musical experience.

2.3/5

1. Quieter Is Louder
2. We’re All We Need
3. Blue Sky Action
4. Peace of Mind
5.Counting Down the Days
6. Sticky Fingers
7. Hello
8. Little Something
9. All Over The World
10. Fly To New York
11. Making Plans
12. Out of Time
13. Excuses
14. Save Me
15. Sink the Lighthouse
16. Treasure

Above & Beyond Links:
http://www.aboveandbeyond.nu/
https://www.facebook.com/aboveandbeyond

About krthll1 (82 Articles)
I am a huge media fan in general. Video games, music, and movies tend to be the ticket to my happiness. As far as music goes, I like to listen to music that can convey any sense of tangible emotional impact, whether it be dark, depressive, or happy. Favorite artists include Deafheaven, Nine Inch Nails, Metallica, Kendrick Lamar, and Alice In Chains. I would like to thank everyone on the site for this opportunity and hope my output is worthy of the publishing.

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