Release Date: Mar 5, 2012
Record label: Kompakt
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Club/Dance, Indie Electronic, New Wave/Post-Punk Revival, Alternative Dance
With beats at the forefront, Whomadewho's sophomore album for Kompakt feels very much like a DJ solo project, or a Fabriclive mix, even though it was constructed by the Scandinavian disco-punk trio of bassist Tomas Høffding, guitarist Jeppe Kjellberg, and drummer Tomas Barfod. Høffding and Kjellberg share vocal duties, with one taking the Bryan Ferry approach with a forced caterwaul, and the other singing in a reserved style. Brighter is subdued compared to the band’s self-titled full-length from 2005.
In music, the danger of trying to find a happy medium is that “medium” all-too-easily becomes “mediocre” if you’re not careful. The Danish trio WhoMadeWho seemed to be aware of this danger, and tried to avoid it altogether. While recording the follow-up to their 2009 breakthrough The Plot, WhoMadeWho realized their music was beginning to expand beyond the sharp yet fairly easygoing electro pop/funk of their previous efforts.
Since the demise of LCD Soundsystem, a gap has been left on the so-called disco-punk scene, and for many it seemed oddball Danish band and all-around partyers WhoMadeWho were the ones to fill it. Fair enough: they have the background, the connections and the talent to step into the breach. That said, the fact neither Tomas Barfod, Tomas Høffding or Jeppe Kjellberg is a truly charismatic and distinctive frontman à la James Murphy was always going to be a problem, despite the rather unique combination of voices they can offer.
When most people think disco, hazy scenes of ingrained clichés spring to mind, namely white guys in leisure suits on illuminated dance floors pointing fingers at rakish angles in the vicinity of a mirror balls while chubby DJs plays saccharine chart fodder with a 4/4 beats. Apparently, the perception of disco is changing in Copenhagen, as Danish power trio WhoMadeWho rip down the scaffolding of nostalgic naivety and present the bloody nosed, grabby hands, garbage bags full of cash, handguns-at-knife-fights side of disco house. Their aesthetic contains the spark of ingenuity happening in NYC, where punk ruffled disco's boa feathers.