Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Concretes Say Something New

"Whatever happened to the Concretes," was a question I often heard after their big hit "Say Something New," and their Target appearance. These once famed Swedish pop-kings slipped back into obscurity as almost as fast as they popped out of it. The sad thing about that slide is that they issued two separate albums between 2003 and 2007. Practically unnoticed, the band disappeared off the proverbial musical radar. So much time passed and such was their slide that even the band began to wonder, "What ever did happen to The Concretes?" Slowly but surely over the last three years that question was answered as songs began to take shape that would eventually come together as their new album, WYWH. Poised once again to slide out from obscurity the band has created a fine album that's in the tradition of their first couple of records but sounds more urgent, and quite potentially better.

Taking a cue from the musical world around them, The Concretes found themselves wanting to make a disco record but in their own special way. Don't think of WYWH as a polyester clad night out but rather a dreamy slow motion disco that's as twee as it is groovy. WYWH features lots of danceable moments but rather than being hands in the air and upfront about it, The Concretes kind of geekily shuffle their way around and slowly work their way into your sub consciousness. This is a gorgeous record that quietly goes about its business without too much commotion but brings enough of a groove that your ears will have a hard time letting go. It might have taken them seven years, but I think WYWH re-establishes The Concretes as one of the foremost Swedish pop bands on the planet.

With noticeably fewer guitars and far more synthesized sounds the band has found itself in love with lush moody grooves that at times are minimally brilliant and at others are almost obviously designed for dancing. Even at their slowest or when they do use guitars (as on "My Ways," and "Crack In The Paint,") the band settle into a chilled out vibe that hints at the bands new found interest. The addition of new vocalist Lisa Milber has further given the band a smoky feel and helps WYWH maintain it's dark textural excellence. From the fantastic indie pop of, "Good Evening," to the nearly jazzy lushness of, "All Day," WYWH continually sees The Concretes refreshed, revitalized, and really good. WYWH is a welcome return to form even if they've set their guitars in the corner. It may have taken seven or so years but The Concretes have proven themselves still relevant and still a great band.

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