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The Whitest Boy Alive – Rules (2009)

May 6, 2009


How adult contemporary can adult contemporary be before it becomes cool to listen too? Can there ever too much Rhodes keyboard on an album? Is crooning the new black in singing?

Something tells me I shouldn’t like Rules, well, in a way I don’t, but it’s the silky smoothness of it all that has got me listening more than once to the album. The albums tracks would fit really well on a radio station for 40 year olds on a yacht on the Great Barrier Reef. Or even at a distant relative’s wedding. It kind of generically works as an album in a way, but only to ears that can stomach reverb chimes reminiscent of 1970’s disco combined with cool lounge jazz. “1517” is probably the standout track with it’s vamping keys and quite catchy riff. A lot of smoothness is evidence on the album too, with Erlend Øye crooning with such a relaxed feel that he seems a little apathetic.

“Courage” stands out a little with it’s little guitar licks and synth stabs, but the rhythmic feel of it all makes me a little uneasy. “Timebomb” is an exercise in noodling around with a note here and there while “Promise Less Or Do More” seriously can be dubbed the daggy song of 2009 to dance under a mirrorball too. I’m a little confused as to whether I should like this or not, because in some elements it’s enjoyable, but in others it’s a little cringeworthy. I can’t tell if the Whitest Boy Alive are taking the piss or are to be taken seriously in all honesty. This is pretty paramount to make a delineation about, especially in a music world where we have bands like Pheonix who wear their pop disco band sensibilities on their sleeve with pride, and like to show it off to their maximum. Rules kind of just rolls with the motions in a way, and hence takes the fun out of listening to it just a tad.

Oh, and there should never be more than 1 song on an album with a Rhodes keyboard on it.

The Whitest Boy Alive website myspace

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