One Night Stand Forever
April 21 2017 (Gentlemen Recordings)
Words: Richard Cobb
It’s a good sign when a band release their debut album and after a brief scan of the track list, you’re left questioning whether or not this is their debut album or their greatest hits. Glasgow quintet WHITE seemed to drop out of the blue and straight onto the runway with the release of their first single ‘Living Fiction’ back in May 2014. Since then they’ve released a few more singles and a debut EP ‘Cuts That Don’t Bleed’ at the tail end of last year.
This full-length opener ‘Living Fiction’ is a track I’ve unashamedly listened to an obscene amount of times over the last few years (402 according to iTunes) yet it still manages to sound so fresh and exciting. The saxophone solo is glorious and rounds off the song perfectly. Already a firm live favourite at their gigs, the track is the ideal introduction to their debut- or a one night stand, if you’re feeling bold and you like a bit of sax (sorry…)
‘Fight The Feeling’ keeps the tempo up and acts as a gateway into the heavy hitters of former singles ‘Future Pleasures’ and ‘Blush.’ If either of these songs made their way into the speakers of a club in Glasgow’s West End it would encourage even the most sullen faced punter with a Rangers tattoo on their neck to transform into a Buckfast Travolta and bust out a series of unapologetic dodgy disco dance moves.
After an unrelenting start to the album, you’ll be needing a breather, a glass of water or a change of sparkly shirt. This opportunity arrives in the form of ‘This Is Not A Love Song.’ Not a bad song, just very downbeat in comparison and I’m not feeling it as much as the rest on here. ‘Be The Unknown’ picks up the pace again and it’s one of the albums highlights. The drums, guitar, bass and keys are all at a breakneck pace here. Singer Leo Condie’s vocal range is showcased particularly well on this one and the falsetto backing vocals act as a flawless accompaniment.
The shining light of last year's debut EP ‘Cuts That Don’t Bleed.’ was the raw and unforgiving ‘I Liked You Better When You Needed Me’. The roaring distorted guitar wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a Muse song, back when they still had something to sing about and before they discovered an unhealthy obsession with UFOs. The only downside is that it misses out the slow synth build up that the EP version had, though in the context of the album it’s not hard to see why this was an omission as the LP flows better without it.
The album title track is a delight and kudos to the band for having a song that would welcome the audience at one of their shows to shamelessly bellow out “Love yourself/Touch yourself” recurrently throughout. Dispelling my earlier fear that slow songs don’t suit the band, ‘How Can You Get Love So Wrong’ is a well-worked slow burner and one for the morning after the night before, when you’re feeling helplessly reflective and regretful about your lifestyle choices. Or one for the car stereo if you’re happily married and driving back from church on a Sunday morning.
The album sadly turns on the lights, kicks everyone out and mops the floor after ‘Private Lives’ which similarly featured on the ‘Cuts That Don’t Bleed’ EP and would sound emphatic echoing out at an arena. WHITE have done the smart thing and included all of their singles to date on this album. It seems an obvious strategy, but it’s incredible the amount of bands that seem to get this wrong and frustratingly leave out their best songs on their debut- the equivalent of taking your foot off the accelerator and forgetting to put the handbrake on when you’re nearing the summit of a hill, leaving your car (or musical career) to roll back down to where you started.
Chances are you’ll see a car rolling down the hill this year, but it won’t be white.