We: “Tension and release”

The first domestic reviews of We’s upcoming album “Tension and Release” have begun pouring in. The album will hit the streets in Norway on January 21st

WE 2005 (Photo: Lars M. Kræmer)

We is a band about which one can use the phrase “trademark sound” with justification. From the very inception this band has been very conscious of being different from the Americana that dominates Norwegian rock and of giving themselves self-made labels, such as “cosmic biker rock”. Rather than swearing genre autonomy, as most eclectic bands do, they have instead routinely redefined their own specific genre according to the evolution of their music. Imperialist psychedelia, stoner rock with an eastern twang, “far-out” hard rock: the descriptions one may come up with are many.

Already characteristic from their early days in the early nineties We have patiently and with never fading commitment dug deeper and deeper into their wells of musical references and at the same time nurtured their own creativity. A recurring quality of the band is how thorough they research the musical legacy they draw on, and how surprising and fresh their finds are. But most impressive is the creative superfluity they display in creating their own songs on this foundation. The result is a subtle balance between reference and innovation that makes their songs appear as music you think that you’ve heard before at the same time as you feel that it’s completely fresh. In a gradual motion We have managed to shine more and more brightly for every album they’ve made over the last years; like a precious stone in the process of being slowly cut and polished to perfection.

The band’s big breakthrough was the album “Smugglers” from 2004. On it they had acquired the help of producer Chris Goss, associated with QUOTSA, and it was in all respects a dense and massive album, with both major hits and a true album feel. It won them all the awards on offer in Norway in their category, as well as a surge in sales and popularity. From being a favourite of the few, they managed to take bring their “transcendental,” or cosmic, rock and roll out to the masses. This included a breakthrough also in Germany and extensive touring in Europe, notably in support of Motörhead.

Although “Smugglers” was hailed as a near perfect album at the time of its release, hearing “Tension and release” have made many critics confess that the verdict was a little premature, for they had no idea that the next album could be even better. “Smugglers” was a splendid breakthrough, but with “Tension and release” it becomes apparent that the band aims even higher; towards a point perhaps not yet reached, even now. This just adds to the notion that We is a band with a true vision, and that they are approaching it by every record they make.

“Tension and release” is hailed by Norwegian critics for scoping wider than the previous albums, and for the way the band have managed to focus their formerly more elusive musical concept. More grounded, yet diverse, fresh and catchy, seems to be the common opinion, and still deliciously extravagant. ‘We’ are “far out” in a focused way.

“Tension and release” will be out in Norway on January 21st, in Germany, Austria and Switzerland on the 25th and in Scandinavia on the 28th.

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