We are All We Are
Credit: ALL WE ARE
It dabbles with so many infl uences it's hard to label it one specific genre.
Following in the footsteps of so many other artists, All We Are decided to make its first album a self-titled one. The band is unique in its own way though, with each member hailing from a different country. It also combines a wide array of influences from The Bee Gees to Chance The Rapper.
These eclectic tastes make it hard to pinpoint which genre the album belongs. All We Are seems to grab at every musical nuance under the umbrella term of indie-rock but could be most likened to a psychedelic, synth-pop rendition of The XX.
From the beginning, everything on this album seems to shimmer and echo into the atmosphere.
The guitars are silky smooth, being absorbed by the songs as if they were message oil, glistening in the candlelight. The drums ease through in such a way as to give the album a steady dance beat while not ruining the smooth persona that washes off the backing synthesizers. All We Are sounds as if it were recorded in a cathedral.
Every note played seems to linger and drift as if circling the listener, reluctant to let go. Through the excellent use of reverb, echoes and panning, this small three-piece band has been able to create a bigger sound than that of bands twice their size.
Much of the underlying appeal of this album resides in the vocals. Back and forth male/female singing creates a gorgeous dialogue that persists through the layers of smooth synthesizers and sustained panning notes from guitars. This structure is highlighted nicely in the second track “Ebb/Flow,” which consists of a verse and chorus trade off between the singers that effectively propels the song.
Another example of this back and forth comes in “Honey.” Here, the male vocals provide an effortless falsetto that gives this song a beautiful contrast to the low persisting bass. Although the vocalists can each carry songs gracefully on their own, the cascading harmonies that appear on tracks such as “Feel Safe” and “Keep Me Alive” are highlights of the record.
The downside of All We Are is that much of the record sounds the same. The eclectic indie genre grabbing and hollow lyrics fail to give the album any distinct direction or concept. The album never seems to come to a full climax, and even the relatively tame pinnacle of excitement on the album – found in “Stone” – is buried behind two minutes of subdued disco influence.
Overall, there’s no contrast to the smooth luxurious tones in this album and, as a result, it quickly becomes background music.
It wouldn’t be entirely true to say that this album doesn’t progress. In the last 15 minutes, All We Are takes a nosedive to a realm that’s even more subdued than the rest of the album. It creates a feeling of being sedated. Everything is sluggish, suppressed and blurry.
Unless you want to have a good cry or engage in some deep reflection at 4 a.m. on a weekday, I advise you to skip these final four songs.
In the end, this album can be summed up with one word – burnout.
Rating: 2 out of 5