A quick show of hands, please? Would you say that the major record labels are staffed by any of the following . . . cynical, unimaginative drones?Ok. Failed musicians? Mmm hmmm, few of the same hands there, I think. Individuals lacking in any creativity? Right, please form an orderly throng to my left and listen to We Have Band (www.wehaveband.com/). Yes, it is a good name, isn't it?
Formed by three former employees of EMI (they've heard all the jokes, I'd wager), it would be easy to dismiss We Have Band as . . . well, as anything, really, just for the sake of it. Except that, annoyingly enough, the music stands up to closer scrutiny, their new single being a case in point. Combining a DIY ethic with some smart production, 'Visionary' is a dark and uneven slab of their own brand of 'disco-rock' – two parts Talking Heads to one part Hot Chip, with a chunky Peter Hook-style baritone riff at its fulcrum.
To say that there is a lot going on in 'Visionary' is like saying that finding a solution to the budget deficit is a little bit tricky. It may well contradict itself, but by God does it contain multitudes. It begins sounding rather like a Monday morning, heads off into a forest of sublime vocal layering and, a short bout of incantation later, emerges enlightened and brand new, if not entirely unscathed, back at Sunday afternoon pace. A set of oblique lyrics, mostly delivered deadpan, and touching on the stuff of expediency and legacy ('Pick a story, make it yours to tell'), adds to the density. You get a bit lost, frankly. But, like when you can't find the exit at Toys R Us, you don't really care.
Plenty of bands try to balance synths with intrigue and most end up looking foolish. That We Have Band has the wherewithal to carry it off without the faintest hint of Nathan Barley surely makes them worth keeping. Now, let's see those hands again.