Recording information: Flesh & Bone Studio; Warham House.
Photographers: Jean-Baptiste Toussaint; Hektor Kowalski; Tom Medwell.
We Have Band's debut album, 2010's WHB, showed the London trio to be top-notch new wave dance revivalists. Filled with uptempo tracks, jumping basslines, and frenetic vocals, the album was a fun nostalgia trip with a modern edge. Two years later on Ternion, it sounds like the band is in a slightly darker place. There's a gloom that hangs over the album like a cloud, infecting the melodies and vocals with a melancholy that is both distant and painfully intimate. Throughout most of the album, Thomas WP sounds like Philip Oakey's morose little brother, crooning hopelessly as the synths envelope him in electric fog. Dede WP's icy tones complement him perfectly, and the few times she lets loose, it gives the album a welcome boost of energy. The feeling of overwhelming bleakness that the vocals, arrangements, and lyrics deliver like bad news are balanced by some seriously catchy songs; the pulsing "After All," "Tired of Running," and the the should-be hit single "Where Are Your People?" will have you dancing with tears in your eyes, while slower, more thoughtful tracks like "Shift" and "Pressure On" will just bring the tears, no dancing. A few songs, like the New Order-influenced "Visionary" and the rollicking "Watertight" have a lighter touch musically that gives the record some balance, while others, like "What's Mine, What's Yours?" and the hypnotic "Steel in the Groove" do a fine job of recapturing the dancefloor grooves of WHB but also add a melodic depth and restraint that is quite impressive. Taken as a whole, Ternion is a strong step forward for the band, one that takes them to the front of the line of bands looking to re-create the sounds, and more importantly, the feel of classic synth pop. ~ Tim Sendra
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