Above & Beyond – We Are All We Need
We Are All We Need is the fourth studio album from the EDM outfit, which achieved their highest ever UK chart position upon release. The album starts with a wash of euphoric birdsong and keys on Quieter Is Louder and keeps the mellow euphoria going on We’re All We Need, featuring the androgynous vocals of Zoe Johnston. It moves into Euro-trance on third track Blue Sky Thinking, featuring singer/songwriter Alex Vargas, though it does sound a bit dated.
The album has the lyrical invention of a shopping list, all “everything’s gonna be alright, happiness will come your way” etcetera. Sticky Fingers references the lyrics of Florence and the Machine’s Girl with One Eye a little too closely to be an original song or idea. Vargas contributes vocals again on this track (five in total) and while he has a resonant, deep voice, there is no variation, no interest, no invention in his delivery. Little Something, featuring Justine Suissa, is mainly bemusing: someone is her “little something, who came from nothing, now you’re everything to me”. Perhaps that makes sense to someone. It’s a ponderous, largely tuneless track that grates. Excuses features a flat, uncredited vocal and bizarre lyrics: “open your window and shout, kill that sacred cow.”
At a 71-minute running tim,e this album feels bloated and overlong. An album of 40 minutes may get another listen but once an album goes north of an hour it really needs to be saying something special to warrant the commitment of time it’s asking for. Perhaps they wanted it to sound this anodyne in order to appeal to the biggest possible audience, but music by committee does not create great albums. There is no journey here, enveloping the listener in its world, carrying them along through a fully-formed aesthetic, then spitting them out the other end feeling exhilarated. This is just a collection of songs. Mediocre songs.
It does what it says on the tin in that it delivers trance beats, but with the likes of Caribou and Panda Bear, to name but a few, making truly genre-defying, boundary-pushing electronica, this just feels a little generic and old-fashioned.
We Are All We Need was released on 20th January 2015, for further information or to order the album visit here.
Watch the video for We’re All We Need here: