We Are Temporary popped up as a dubious Facebook ad recommendation late last year screaming at me “Like The Knife? You’ll love this!” yet strangely now I’ve had time to properly digest We Are Temporary’s first album – I completely agree. Thank you ad’s – you did good for once!
The pure synth trickery of We Are Temporary stretches from the initial twisted melodies of “Appalachian Trails” through to the pulsing beats of the track and the pitch bending of the dual vocals as they shift tones and frequency. The whole album has a “someone let them loose in the sound playground” vibe and it completely works to its advantage. The riffs are memorable and each of the ten tracks is quickly stitched into your brain. However staying with just The Knife is a gross undersell. The album takes much from dramatic 80’s synth pop too. “Who’s Going To Love Me Now?” owes more to Soft Cell and Mark Almond by smashing large percussive slaps over synth soundscapes with strong emotive vocals that are less about getting everything pristine and more about conveying the drama in each syllable. It’s a fantastic track and along with the opener, shows a real tonal spread.
“You Can Now Let Go” channels a dark electric marching pulse that relies on its low bass beats and gentle synth embellishments to shine whilst the track slowly grows overtime before “Love Machine” swaps male for female vocals in a chilled track that spends a lot of time laying vocals on a vocoder and having what almost sounds like two separate songs going on at once. The bass synths are doing their own thing whilst the vocals and melodic synths are doing something else. They slowly merge into a powerful drill of a final chorus where the discord makes for a heightened tension but its a strange track that takes a few listens to genuinely appreciate that it’s doing.
“Calling Home” is a track of two halves. The first half reminds me of Soft Cell’s Sex Dwarf for very little reason other than the drum loops. The second half is where the track gets a heady repetitive chime loop that envelops you whilst the lyric “wish I would have stayed” goes on and on. It’s almost trance inducing as it unravels in your ears. Side by side with “Innocence” it’s quite a change-up as the latter song is possibly the most straight forward and commercial of the album. It’s melody is tight and the layered wispy lyrics trip off the tongue at speed over the stop/start mid tempo drum beat. Think SOHN is he were by candlelight in a cave of fauns. Going into a more dreamlike world “Remember Our Light” takes a mbira loop and lets it take centre stage alongside a fragile and pained voice that milks every word for the drama it has. Slowly over the course of the track the mbira is replaced by echo drenched synths and it sounds like a snowscape of heavy synths raining down. It’s beautiful.
The dreams turn to nightmares in the discordant “Give me More” which has some demonic vocal treatments that run a the main vocal track about 3 octaves lower than it’s source to give an ungodly drone. The whole track is superbly menacing as it declares “I’m a fool, I’m a liar, I’m everything you want – I’m a man”. It works well as the mildly healing “Prism” spends its time twisting metallic synths over various beats and clicks as the track laments “I’ve never loved you more with our futures still so far away”. It gives a rare moment of solace in what is generally an outwardly critical album. The closing track too leaves a word of caution in it’s actually sweet (in a way) lyrics as the chorus sings “love grows quietly – so let’s fall silent”. The whole production and death knell melody makes it sound like it’s actually laying down to die, but hey – we can’t have it all!
We Are Temporary have burst onto my scene with an amazing album. It’s easily in my top handful of albums in 2016 and whilst fans of The Knife will enjoy this. There’s way more here for people who enjoy that miserable electronica vibe where you can pensively dance the night away in your finest witches garments. Burning your ex lovers clothes of course.
Recommended Track: Who’s Going To Love Me Now?