Thursday, January 10, 2008

Whitest Boy Alive - Golden Cage

Reviews of the Whitest Boy Alive record were mixed, but I think it's great. It's live-played dance music, like a minimalist Chic, but with melancholy, introspective lyrics. I think of it as being very much like Joy Division or New Order prior to Low-Life.

I heard Whitest Boy Alive before I heard any of the Kings of Convenience records. These I also quite like, but they're different. KoC music's based largely on the formula of two singers with arpeggiated chords, playing quiet pop. One record is entitled "Quiet is the New Loud." Here's a good example, a song called Winning a Battle, Losing the War:

The lyrical content of KoC is also more elaborate and baroque. WBA's "Done With You" has "I'm done with you, I'm sailing my own way around the world" repeated in minor variations as its lyrics. KoC's "Stay Out of Trouble" opens with "I walked around for hours, two ten pence pieces in my hand," and that's just the start of that epic. I like both, and think that the restrained nature of the WBA lyrics suits the dance music style.

There's also a solo record by the guy in these bands, Erlend Oye (he's captain glasses up there). It's pretty forgettable. I've also listened once to his DJ Kicks record and found it to be much the same. Both these records get higher ratings from Pitchfork than WBA.

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