Release Date: May 5, 2014
Record label: Island
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, Indie Pop, Neo-Psychedelia
Les trois Parisians We Were Evergreen have been grinding the live circuit for half a decade now, all this time sustaining their live sets with EPs and solitary tracks rather than releasing a record. Their method has worked just fine however, and they’ve cultivated a solid following with tunes like Baby Blue and shimmering indie-pop that’s punctuated by mysterious “llama nails”, kazoos and glockenspiels. If you’re unacquainted with the threesome, think Theme Park or a less guitar-y Two Door Cinema Club, and you’ll be close enough.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. It's hard to believe that this is the first full length LP from We Were Evergreen, the trio of cheeky Parisians who have given support to everyone from Emeli Sande and Goldfrapp since popping up on the UK scene in 2010. Whilst it may have taken them nearing five years to commit to Towards, they are no strangers to many ears with their chameleonic mix of indie pop and catchy folk.
We Were Evergreen's full-length debut, 2014's Towards, is a buoyant, delicately experimental mix of folk-pop and eclectic electronic music. With a sound based around the melodic drive of guitars and keyboards as well as ukulele and harmonized vocals, it would easy to dismiss the Parisian-born/U.K.-based band as purveyors of friendly, light indie pop. That is, of course, if their album wasn't so accomplished and, in its own way, adventurous.
It should be amazingly easy to hate We Were Evergreen. Their band shots alone bring bile to the eyes, all pastels and laughter and papier-mâché animal heads and swimming pools - pretty much a marketeer’s wet-dream for youthful joie de vivre. There’s the videos with their cutesy lo-fi and recycled Michel Gondry, tiny instruments and hand-made props everywhere, and the press releases that dare to mention Alt-J.
Had they stayed in Paris, We Were Evergreen would probably be good candidates for constant rotation on Le Mouv’, France’s 6Music equivalent, obsessed as it is with fey singing boys and their vampy synths. Instead, the trio have ended up relocating to London, where we still have strict legal maximums on how much quirky keyboard-led vulnerability young men can show in public. While ‘Daughters’ says they’re capable of touching the smoky holiness of Erland Øye, round the back nine (‘Golden Fire’, ‘Kilmore’s End’, ‘Overnight’), the attention to detail slips, and they end up with a load of meat patties of twee that just come across as Owl City in fashionable shoes, a whiny inner-child deserving of a smacked botty-bot.
It’s unfortunate when a band shows promise, but when it comes to the crunch, fails to deliver. That’s exactly where ‘Towards’, We Were Evergreen’s nonetheless interesting debut falls. Whilst there is some fascinating experimentation and musicianship within a pop template on the album, the basic song structure and lyricism is lacking. What is most unfortunate about this is it makes the more intriguing elements of the album seem more like gimmicks than natural elements of We Were Evergreen’s sound as they are added on to a far too traditional groundwork.As a result of this then, the Parisian trio are at their best when they keep their sound as simple as possible.