all we are providence

All We Are – Providence (Domino Recording)

We all need some summery and sexy funk-pop sometimes. Providence is a much-needed antithesis to bleak apocalyptic 2020 music and furthermore is a major change in mood and outlook to All We Are’s previous two records, which could be described as indie-folk somber followed by post-punk angst. Providence is an undeniably enjoyable listen with positive messages, that doesn’t take itself too seriously and showcases another side to the previously identity-searching Norwegian-Irish-Brazilian trio. Aptly released during the summer, it’s easy to imagine oneself dancing on the disco floor at an outdoor beach party that’s beside a cocktail bar, with an attentive bartender on standby. Perhaps the Neon sign is labelled Providence. Just look at the new album sleeve for further proof of its context; blazing sun, the sea, palm trees and quasi-Scarface clothes. Damn you 2020!

The title track ‘Providence’ immediately introduces us to an album that’s full of vibrant energy and 80’s ‘Club Tropicana’ vibes. The woozy track can remind one of many songs, with the rattling percussion sounding like The Sugarhill Gang’s ‘Rapper’s Delight’ and the bridge seems to be influenced by from Herbie Hancock‘s electro hit ‘Rockit’. But the 80’s vibes differ throughout the record as ‘When You Cry’ for example sounds more like U2 or Simple Minds.

It’s been a while since we had a Piña Colada song. ‘Not Your Man’ can now join Rupert Holmes in celebrating the coconut-pineapple-rum mixture through song. It doesn’t have the same narrative twist as the late 70’s classic (the song that is) but it’s just as provocative. “Hold that taste on our lips. Got to let it linger from our tinder kiss/ Oh you know I want your body. You think I’m sexy. Like a Piña Colada you’re not gonna waste me. I’ll let you shake me, I’ll let you taste me”. The track uses tropical percussion and synths that sound like carnival-trumpets (a regular feature on Providence) to take listeners into the colourful scene.

An appetite for sexual disco continues on ‘L is For Lose’, an instant classic on first listen. Catchy and mood-setting with a magnetic funkilicious groove, the song turns the emotional turbulence that can happen in a relationship into a rhythmic dance. It’s a good example of All We Are’s treble singing responsibilities. Unlike most bands (Chris Martin I’m looking at you), All We Are are 3 members with an equal hierarchy within the band. Ireland’s Richard O Flynn adopts a Prince falsetto in the verse, Norway’s Guro Gikling guides us into the chorus and Brazil’s Luis Santos closes out the song with a deep gruff voice – that part is reminiscent of Christopher Lee’s outro to Michael Jackson’s Thriller but less haunting.

‘How You Get Me’ maintains the tropical sound with the trumpets (Trumpets are also used effectively in the chorus to ‘Deliver It’) and tin instrument hits but it seems like the part at the end of the party where intimacy could be on the cards. “Move your body real close to mine. All the time,” the trio sing in their admirable synchronized manner, before “sha-la-la-la” are sung by a larger crowd. Despite not being at the end of the record, this track destined to be an audience participation gig closer.

With the exception of ‘Bad Advice’, which aims to help the gullible avoid half-truths, All We Are’s newly adopted style often overtakes the substance, with their vague and hollow lyrics being something of an afterthought. Nonetheless Providence sees All We Are become more amiable and perhaps finally solidify a genre identity; groovy electronic pop with an irresistible fun personality.

 

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.